Italy are having one of their best summers ever, it’s over 30 degrees everyday, low humidity, little rain, they’re all having a smashing time – doesn’t that just brighten your day! To add to our misery we watch the Italian news and weather every evening, they seem to know we are watching because they seem to be doing a bloody feature every evening from some beach, yesterday they were at some huge pool with about a hundred bronzed Italians of all ages dancing in the pool, they’re mad into this in Italy, they always have summer songs and everybody dances in the swimming pools following a group of people on a stage. We’ve never joined in I’m afraid, a bit too cheesy for us cool, white people with a little extra grip on the hips from Irlanda.

Bruno’s sister went for 3 weeks and has decided because the weather is so nice there and so bad here she might as well stay another week, Bruno’s nephews are having a ball, they are going to a summer school where they take them on excursions in the local area and feed them good home-made Italian food and they learn some Italian too. Bruno used to go to Italy every summer from June until September,  he went every year until he was 18 – lucky thing. The furthest we got was a mobile home in Tramore or Salthill and a ride in the Twister Cups at the carnival, the future is bright for the princess.

The only thing that’s keeping us going in this weather is “HOPE”, the hope that because the weather has been so bad, it has to get better and we’re going to have a scorching August and September. I have never watched the Irish weather forecast so much in my life, I tune in every night praying for some good news. Has anyone else noticed how much smilier the weather forecasters have become, maybe they think if they have a cheesier grin it might make the blows to come easier on us – IT DOESN’T!!!

SO, in this weather all that’s left to do is eat and drink to console ourselves. We haven’t had risotto since my last post on risotto with asparagus. I’m going to repeat myself and say once again how easy it is to make. It is perceived as being really difficult and time consuming but it really isn’t. It takes about 20-25 minutes and involves a bit of stirring but the end result is so good it’s worth it. I will have both Carnoroli and Arborio rice in stock in La Cucina next week. I have a lot of new products coming including Polenta so I will do a post on them when they are in.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 300g risotto rice – we used Arborio.
  • 1 small onion
  • 30g cold butter
  • 1lt vegetable stock – we used fresh stock from La Cucina but you can use a stock cube if you don’t have fresh!
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 200ml white wine
  • 50g dried porcini
  • 5 mushrooms chopped

WHAT TO DO:

 – soak your porcini in boiling water for about 15 mins.

 – bring the stock to the boil and switch off.

 – heat the oil and half the butter in a pan, add the onion and cook over a low heat for about 5 mins.

 – add the rice and cook until the grains are covered in fat.

 – turn up the heat, add the wine and cook for a couple of mins until it has evaporated.

 – add a ladle of stock and cook, stirring until it has been absorbed. Keep repeating this until you have used all the stock and it has been absorbed. This will take 18-20 mins. The rice shoukd always be moist but not swimming in liquid.

 – halfway through add the porcini and the liquid.

 – in another pan heat up a little olive oil and cook your sliced mushrooms for a few minutes and add to risotto when ready. Season with salt and pepper.

 – remove from the heat and add your cold butter and parmesan.

We went all out and had a Bruschetta Al Pomodoro to start!

 

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