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Risotto or salt cod? 

The anser for me is Salt cod Risotto! A few weeks ago I went to Vairano Scalo in the province of Caserta. Before the trip, I had imagined that I would taste wonderful buffalo mozzarella, fantastic artichokes, a long-awaited saffron, but never did I think I would eat salt cod in all its possible preparations!

Yet it is in this very village in Campania that you will find the Osteria del Baccalà where Antonio Ruggiero enchants everyone with the magic he can create with this extraordinary ingredient. And you know what? The experience with his salt cod is so good for the health and good mood that Antonio calls the dinner in his osteria a ‘therapeutic salt cod dinner‘! And I

Well, on those very same days, I read on the page of the Italian Food Bloggers Association that some colleagues from Veneto had organised a contest dedicated to Veneto and risotto entitled: “How do you cream it?” The connection was straight! The recent experience of salt cod and my beloved Veneto could only make me prepare a risotto that combines two of my favourite dishes: so here is my Salt cod risotto.

E-tu-come-lo-mantechi

Any other pleasant coincidences? The fact that I had gone to Vairano to prepare a risotto for the students of the ISISS Marconi hospitality school and that this is the season of asparagus, of which Veneto is a famous producer. I thought it was a bit daring, but since everyone at home liked this risotto, here is the recipe for you to try it too!

Salt cod risotto

23g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • approx. 1.5 litres of previously prepared vegetable stock
  • 360g Carnaroli rice
  • 200g desalted cod
  • 200g milk
  • 16green asparagus
  • 60g Prosecco from a winery of your choice
  • 40g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 60g extra virgin olive oil
  • 30g spring onion
  • 30g fresh cream
  • 4 g parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt

Preparation

  1. Cook the cod covered in water and milk with the garlic clove for about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the skin, garlic and any bones, then place the cod in a blender with the washed parsley leaves. Start blending by adding 50g of oil in a trickle, as if you were whipping mayonnaise. Also add the cream while continuing to whip and finally add salt to taste.
  3. Prepare the asparagus. Wash them, remove the woody ends, then separate the tips from the rest. Place the tips in a non-stick pan with a little oil and let them soften, then season with salt and set aside. In a saucepan, pour 10g of oil and the chopped spring onion, allow it to soften, then add the asparagus spears, allow them to take on flavour for a few minutes, then cover with water and cook. Once cooked, blend the asparagus to a perfectly smooth, stringless cream. Set it aside.
  4. Now let’s prepare the rice. Dry-toast the rice in a large pan (it took me 3 minutes to get the grains nice and transparent with a white kernel in the centre). Add Prosecco and allow to evaporate stirring until you can no longer smell the wine alcohol. Start adding the boiling stock. Continue stirring and only add stock when the rice has absorbed almost all the liquid. When the rice is still al dente, remove from the heat and start adding the creamed salt cod, continuing to stir the rice well so that the starch is released to form a nice creamy mixture, add the grated Parmesan cheese and continue stirring until it is completely incorporated. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
  5. Plate the risotto: with the help of a piping bottle or pastry bag, place little tufts of asparagus cream on the surface and 4 asparagus tips on each plate.
  6. Serve the risotto and enjoy!

Risotto-al-baccala-uno-che-per-gaia

Version with gluten of Salt cod risotto

The recipe contains only naturally gluten-free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.

Behind the scenes of my Mediterranean Risotto: towards the final of the Rice Food Blogger Contest

When you have an unforgettable experience, you are afraid to try to repeat it for fear that it will disappoint you and spoil the fairytale atmosphere of your memories. With the ‘Chef Giuseppina Carboni’ Rice Food Blogger Contest this was not the case: the second experience not only did not disappoint expectations, but even gave us surprises and emotions that were totally unexpected: let’s discover the behind the scenes of my Mediterranean Risotto.

The day of the final

There were 12 of us, the semi-finalists of the contest, at the Chef Academy in Terni to challenge each other to the sound of risottos created from a mystery box designed by chef and jury member Roberta Massoli of the La Pergola Restaurant in Magliano Sabina.
My mystery box contained strawberries, goat cheese, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and Maremma rice.

The result: my Sweet Thoughts Risotto, cooked with strawberries, creamed with a goat’s cheese cream and served with a parmesan and pine nut crumble that I loved. Actually, the jury, composed of Chef Academy director Ronny Albucci, Chef Roberta Massoli, Chef Matteo Barbarossa, the winner of the last edition of the Contest, Cristiana Curri, and the event organiser Luca Puzzuoli , also liked it, and in addition to choosing me among the 5 finalists, they declared my risotto the best of the semifinal!

And do you know what was at stake? A real chef’s jacket from the prestigious host cooking school, the first one I have ever worn.

Foto vittoria semifinale

Furthermore, the products of the initiative’s sponsors have been gracing our table for several days: Maremma rice, Parmigiano Reggiano, Flagella tomatoes, Verrigni pasta and Infinito extra virgin olive oil.

A great surprise of this edition was the lunch organised at the Italyheart oil mill in Fornole di Amelia: a masterpiece from start to finish! In addition to a divine lunch, where my children for the first time tasted wild boar meat and pigeon with anchovy paste, there was a very interesting mini-lesson by Angela Canale – agronomist, panel head, olive oil expert – on Italian extra virgin olive oil and a tasting dedicated to the Infinito oil produced by the oil mill that welcomed us.

Many products for one risotto: my Mediterranean Risotto

Waiting for the highly anticipated final on 21 July in which I will see the other finalists, Bianca and Marta, Angela, Alessia and Sara, I couldn’t help but create a risotto with the extraordinary products that the organisers and sponsors have given us… I must admit that if the mystery box of the final contained these ingredients, few palates would be able to resist!

Enjoy this risotto!

Mediterranean Risotto

21.6g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients

  • approx. 2 litres of previously prepared vegetable stock
  • 360g Carnaroli rice
  • 300g Flagella tomato sauce
  • 85g cow’s milk mozzarella
  • 65g Stracchino cheese or another cream cheese
  • 60g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 60g extra virgin olive oil
  • 30g carrots
  • 30g leek
  • 30g water
  • 15g celery
  • salt, oregano, basil and Infinito extra virgin olive oil to garnish

Preparation

  1. First prepare the tomato cream. Put about 20g of Infinito extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan with the chopped leek, carrot and celery. Let the vegetables soften and brown, then add the Flagella tomato sauce, a pinch of salt and a ladle of stock; let it cook for about 15 minutes and whisk to obtain a homogeneous sauce, finally set aside.
  2. Prepare the cream cheese with mozzarella, stracchino cheese and 30g water; whisk for a few seconds until smooth and allow to rest at room temperature.
    Start preparing the rice. Put a little oil in a pan and toast the rice on a high heat (it took me 3 minutes to get the grains nice and transparent with a white kernel in the centre). Start adding the boiling stock. Continue stirring and only add stock when the rice has absorbed almost all the liquid. After about 5 minutes, add the tomato sauce and continue to cook the risotto.
  3. Turn off the heat, leaving the rice still al dente, and start stirring in about 40g of extra virgin olive oil so that the starch is released and forms a nice creamy texture; then add the grated Parmesan cheese and continue stirring until it is completely incorporated. Let the risotto rest for at least 1 minute covered with a dish towel.
  4. Serve by placing a spoonful of mozzarella cream at room temperature in the centre of the plate; pour a few drops of extra virgin olive oil over the cream, place a basil leaf on top and sprinkle with a pinch of oregano.
  5. Serve and dream of summer in one of our beautiful Mediterranean countries!
risotto-mediterraneo-senza-glutine

Mediterranean Risotto