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I like to eat. Because I like to eat, I like to cook, especially for friends I like to eat with. That’s what this blog is about: what I lik...

RECIPES HERE! ... for Pasta & Risotto

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PASTA SAUCES
Marinara Garlicky ~ Marinara Oniony
Smooth Sauce ~ Sunday Gravy

PASTA SAUTES
Broccoli ~ Broccoli di Rape
Mushroom ~ Cauliflower

PASTA SOUPS
Bean ~ Lentil ~ Cauliflower ~ Potato
Minestrone

PASTA MIXES
w/Asparagus ~ w/Zucchini

RISOTTI
Parmigiano ~ Porcini ~ Baby Bella Mushrooms

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Marinara Garlicky 
Chunky, alla Napolitana
(from Blog the Twenty-sixth)

* For a large quart-sized can of pelati (whole peeled tomatoes imported from Italy--never not whole! never not imported!), pour out a scant quarter-cup of regular olive oil into a sauce pot. Add several whole cloves of garlic, cracked or scored. Turn the heat on to medium, and as soon as you hear any incipient sizzling, tip the pot to create a pond of oil for the cloves to float and sizzle in, until golden.
* Optionally, seed the pelati by first fishing them out of the can with a fork and laying them on a plate; then halve each crosswise with a knife, and squeeze the seeds out of each half into the plate along with tomato juice, piling the seeded halves on a cutting board to be roughly chopped before adding to the sauce pot, followed by their plate juices, strained. Alternatively, just dump the whole can of pelati into the pot.
* At the very first sign of any gilding of the garlic cloves, remove the sauce pot from the heat and add in the pelati with a rounded teaspoon of coarse salt or a scanted teaspoon of table salt. Return to a lively but not angry simmer.
* Cook at a lively simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, with the pot cover much ajar, until from soupy it thickens to saucy, so that its bubbles start popping, and olive oil slicks rise to the surface. The aroma will change from herbaceous to fruitty, and the savor from tart and vegetal to tangy and sweet.
* In the last 5 to 15 minutes, you can mix in a few fresh basil leaves, if you have them, for the aroma.
* In sum, it's sauce when it's delicious. If it isn't, chances are it needs more salt, a fresh dollop of extra virgin olive oil, or both.


Marinara Oniony 
Chunky 'n Hot, alla Siciliana

(from Blog the Twenty-sixth)

* For a large quart-sized can of pelati (whole peeled tomatoes imported from Italy--never not whole! never not imported!), cut a nice big onion into halves, then halving each half horizontally, slice it vertically into very thin slices.
* Pour out a scant quarter-cup of regular olive oil into a sauce pot. Add the sliced onion with a shower of salt and. Turn the heat on to medium and cover the pot for a pre-steaming. Once you hear sizzling, toss the onions in the oil a time or two, until they are well sweated, at which point remove the cover and add pepperoncini (hot red pepper, be it flakes or whole). Flip the onions frequently as they dry off and sizzle to golden, dulcid, redolent.
* Optionally, ahead of time seed the pelati by first fishing them out of the can with a fork and laying them on a plate; then halve each crosswise with a knife, and squeeze the seeds out of each half into the plate along with tomato juice, piling the seeded halves on a cutting board to be roughly chopped before adding to the sauce pot, and followed by their plate juices, strained. Alternatively, just dump the whole can of 'em into that pot (but be careful not to splash yourself).
* At the very first sign of any gilding of any onion, remove the sauce pot from the heat and add in the pelati with a rounded teaspoon of coarse salt or a scanted teaspoon of table salt. Return to a lively but not angry simmer.
* Cook at a lively simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, with the pot cover much ajar, until from soupy it thickens to saucy, so that bubbles start popping, and olive oil slicks rise to the surface. The aroma will change from herbaceous to fruity ,and the savor from tart and vegetal to tangy and sweet.
* In the last 5 to 15 minutes, you can mix in a few fresh basil leaves, if you have them, for the aroma.
* In sum, it's sauce when it's delicious. If it isn't, chances are it needs more salt, a fresh dollop of extra virgin olive oil, or both.


Smooth Sauce (Passata)
(from Blog the Twenty-sixth)

* In a food mill, puree three large quart-sized can of pelati (whole peeled tomatoes imported from Italy--never not whole! never not imported!), without their can juices.
* Pour the puree into a sauce pot with a rounded tablespoon of coarse salt or a scanted tablespoon of table salt. Add in a whole onion with its ends lopped off; a whole celery stalk cut in half; and 2 or 3 whole carrots peeled. Bring the puree to a lively simmer.

*  Meanwhile, in a little sauce pot over moderate heat, saute 3 or 4 nice sized garlic cloves, cracked or scored, in a brimming 1/4-cupe of regular olive oil, tipping the pan to float the cloves in the oil until they sweeten to golden.  Pour all into the simmering puree and stir it in.
* Cook the puree at a lively simmer uncovered, for 30 or 40 minutes, until it thickens to pulpy, so that its bubbles grow large and pop, and its olive oil rises to the surface, and its aroma and savor sweeten.
* In the last 5 to 15 minutes, you can mix in a few fresh basil leaves, if you have them, for the aroma.
* Taste, and If it wants it, add more salt or a fresh dollop of extra virgin olive oil. When all is well, turn the heat off and let the sauce cool down before fishing out the root vegetables to discard. Be sure to serve this sauce with much grated Pecorino Romano at table, and you could even toss a palmful in when mixing the sauce into the pasta for serving.


Sunday Gravy (Sugo)
(from Blog the Tenth)

* Gather sundry fatty meats: pork ribs; beef ribs; chunks of chuck or bottom round; chicken quarters; Italian sausage; coarsely ground beef (and pork) for meatballs; or whatever the moment graces. Also, soup bones with tender-looking marrow will be transfigurative. If you have the time for it, soak such marrow bones along with the ribs in a brine salty as the sea (1/4-cup salt to 1-quart water) for a few hours.
* Put the soup bones in the oven at 400 degrees to roast aromatic, while with a food mill you puree into a big sauce pot 4 or 5 large quart-sized can of pelati (whole peeled tomatoes imported from Italy--never not whole! never not imported!). Crush 2 or 3 garlic cloves hard, and toss them into the tomato puree, along with half a peeled potato and a half dozen whole black peppercorns. For aromatics, add in a bay leaf or two, if you have them, and a stem or two or three of fresh parsley. Add in a rounded tablespoon of coarse salt or a scanted tablespoon of table salt, and bring the puree to a simmer. Add the roasted soup bones whenever they smell stirring, and simmer them in the sauce, covered, for 20 or 30 minutes, before adding the ribs.
* Meanwhile, dry off and salt and pepper the ribs on both sides for sautéing. Heat a quarter-inch of regular olive oil, to sauté the ribs in at a steady simmer, until golden and spotted brown. Sauté the ribs in batches, vouchsafing them space to breathe and brown, and pile them up in a dish, to drip fat. When they're all ready for it, add them into the simmering puree and simmer them uncovered for 90 minutes, before adding the chicken and sausage for an additional 30-40 minutes of cooking.
* If you're using chunks of chuck or top round, or shank, then salt and pepper them on both sides, and brown them in the same oil as the ribs, and add them after the ribs, and at least 60 minutes before the chicken and sausage. * Before browning the chicken and sausage, strain your oil clean and wipe out your frying pan with paper towels, before returning the oil into it and to a simmer. Sauté the chicken, like the other meats, until speckled brown; after a rest, add it to the simmering sauce for 40 minutes of simmering. Then lightly brown the sausage, and add them for 30 minutes of simmering.
* For meatballs, lightly mix together: a pound of coarsely ground fatty beef (and maybe pork too); 4 heaping tablespoons of grated Pecorino Romano; 4 temperate tablespoons of seasoned bread crumbs; a small onion, sliced very thin and sautéd golden in butter and olive oil; a good sized clove of garlic chopped very fine; a plamful of chopped fresh parsley; a shower of of slat and grindings of black pepper; and enough milk to soften the mix to malleable. Roll handfuls of meats lightly between your palms to form large airy meatballs. Chill them until you're ready to brown them very lightly at a very gentle simmer over very mild heat on four sides, handling them ever so gently with a spoon and fork. Add them into the simmer gravy for the last 15 or 20 minutes of cooking.
* When rib meat begins to fall off a rib or two, and chuck to strand, then the gravy is gravy. Turn off the heat and let the meats cool down in the gravy, to keep them moist. When tepid, the meats can be removed to another pan and topped with gravy, for reheating later in the oven; or else they can be reheated in the gravy pot together with the gravy, when time comes to sauce the pasta.



Broccoli ‘n Penne  
(from Blog the Fourth)

* Strip broccoli of its fibrous skin, and soak in a cold bath. Sauté an abundance of thinly sliced garlic in an abundant pool of regular olive oil. At very first sign of garlic gilding, add wet broccoli to pot, off heat, and salt broccoli. Cover pot, shake it all up, and return it to heat.
* Let broccoli steam until softening sets in. Then remove cover to let broccoli dry off and sauté, until tender, glistening, and redolent.
* Cook penne in abudant well-salted water.  When pasta is just short of done, transfer wet with a slotted utensil into sizzling pot of broccoli.
* Sauté pasta with broccoli for a minute or two, adding pasta water for slipperiness, until pasta is glistening, bespeckled green, and savorous.
* Eat with grated Pecorino Romano, if it you like.



Broccoli di Rape ‘n Linguine 
(from Blog the Fourth)

* Strip each stem of its fibrous skin, splitting the fattest ones, and soak them all in a cold bath. Sauté several lightly crushed garlic cloves in a goodly pool of regular olive oil. At first sign of garlic gilding, add wet broccoli to pot off heat, salt broccoli all over, cover pot, and shake it all up.
* Return covered pot to heat and let broccoli steam until softening sets in. Then remove cover to let broccoli dry off and sauté, until tender, glistening, and unctuous.
* Boil linguine (or spaghetti) in abundant well-salted water. When just short of done, transfer with a spork dripping wet to sizzling pot of broccoli.
* Sauté pasta with broccoli for a minute or two, adding pasta water for slipperiness, until pasta is glisten green.
* Consider adding grated Pecorino Romano, perhaps only after first forkful or two.


Mushrooms Garlicky ‘n Spaghetti
(from Blog the Sixth)

* Melt a fat wad of butter into an expansive pool of extra virgin olive oil. When the butter finishes its foaming, add Baby Bella mushroom slices with showers of salt.
* Sauté at first on low heat to draw the water out of the mushrooms, then on heat high to boil all the water away.
* When the boiling liquid reduces to sizzling oil, add an abundance of chopped garlic and generous grindings of black pepper. Sauté the mushrooms with the garlic until savory. Then add chopped parsley and sauté just to wilt.
* Cook spaghetti (or linguine) in abundant well-salted water. When the spaghetti is still short of al dente, transfer it with a spork dripping wet to the sizzling pan of mushrooms. Sauté the spaghetti with the mushrooms for several minutes, to glaze the spaghetti with mushroom oil and to entangle the mushrooms with the spaghetti, adding pasta water as desirable to keep spaghetti slippery and glistening.
* Eat with grated Pecorino Romano, if you like.


Cauliflower 'n Penne Sauté
(from Blog the Twenty-sixth)

* Boil big chunks of cauliflower in a big pot of well salted water until still quite al dente (still firmly tender).
* Meanwhile, in a large frying or braising pan, sauté an abundant mound of chopped garlic in an abundant pool of extra virgin olive oil over mild heat until just golden. Off heat, add in one or two anchovy fillets, chopped very finely, and use a spatula to mash and mix it into the garlic and oil. You could also add hot red pepper, if you like it.
* When the cauliflower is near ready, return the pan of seasoned oil to sizzling over medium heat. Add in the boiled cauliflower and mash it down into a chunky mass. Sprinkle it with salt and an abundant lot of freshly ground black pepper. Then flip the cauliflower mash over and over in the seasoned and sizzling oil, and sauté until delicious, adding more of whatever it asks for as you go.
* Bring the pot of cauliflower water back to a rolling boil and add in penne. Cook to short of al dente, tender but still too firm. Taste the penne and mix more salt into the water, if needed, before using a small sieve or slotted spoon to transfer the dripping wet penne in to the pan of sizzling seasoned oil.
* Now raise the heat and flip and fold the cauliflower mash over and into the pasta, adding cooking water as necessary to keep everything slippery, sautéing the pasta until glistening with the cauliflowered oil. The smell of it should go to your head. To finish it off, mix in a fistful of fresh parsley roughly chopped. Now it should be down right pretty.
* Serve it up fast, hot and fresh, together with grated Pecorino Romano, hot red pepper flakes, and a black pepper mill at table. You could also supply a creamer of the cooking water, in case someone likes it slippery.



Pinto Pasta Soup
a.k.a., Pasta e faggioli
(from Blog the Seventh)

* At breakfast, sift and wash the beans, and bring them to a boil covered by thrice the water. Boil for only a minute, then cover and leave them sit for the day.
* At dinnertime, put the beans to boil. Meanwhile, sauté finely chopped onion, salted, in a goodly pool of extra virgin olive oil, until pale and perfumey. Add in chopped carrot and celery, salt, and sauté until glisteny. Mix in some chopped tomato for color only, and then dump the whole panful into the boiling pot of beans, with a teaspoon or two of salt. Cook to tender.
* Add coarsely chopped spinach or escarole and cook five minutes. Taste to see if the bean soup want more salt or extra virgin olive oil.
* Boil spoon-size maccheroni in an abundance of well salted water to well short of done. Saving a mugful of the pasta water, barely drain the maccheroni and dump it slushy into the simmering pot of beans, to finish cooking together with them.
* Add pasta water if needed to get it as soupy as you like. Taste again for salt. Add wide swirls of fresh extra virgin olive oil. At table have ready to hand a salt shaker, black pepper mill, and cruet of extra virgin olive oil. Grated cheese is not traditional, but also not not delicious.


Lentil Pasta Soup 
(from Blog the Seventh)

* Sift and wash the lentils, and bring them to a boil covered by thrice the water.
* Meanwhile, sauté finely chopped onion, salted, in a goodly pool of extra virgin olive oil, until pale and perfumey. Add in chopped carrot and celery, salt, and sauté until glistening. Mix in a some chopped tomato for color only, and then dump the whole panful into the boiling pot of lentils, with a teaspoon or two of salt. Cook to tender.
* Add coarsely chopped spinach, or better yet dandelion or chicory, and cook five minutes more. Taste to see if your lentils want more salt. Top with swirls of fresh extra virgin olive oil.
* Boil spoon-size maccheroni in an abundance of well salted water to well short of done. Saving a mugful of the pasta water, barely drain the maccheroni, and dump it slushy into the simmering pot of lentils, to finish cooking with them.
* Add pasta water if needed to get it as soupy as you like. Taste again for salt. Top it with swirls of fresh extra virgin oil. Serve a cruet of the oil at table with a pepper grinder and salt shaker. Grated cheese not traditional, but not undelicious either.


Cauliflower Pasta Soup  
(from Blog the Twenty-sixth)

* Saute much onion, thinly sliced, until golden, in a pool of regular olive oil, over medium heat.
* Add several pelati (whole peeled tomatoes from Italy), roughly chopped, perhaps seeded, with a sprinkling of salt. Cook the pelati down for five minutes or so into a chunky little sauce.  (You could add basil in summer, or a pinch of dried marjoram in winter, if you have it and feel like it.)
* Add in your cauliflower broken down into florets, and flip them in the sauce until bespattered with it. Shower with salt, cover, and steam for five minutes or so, with a flip or two in between, until the cauliflower flushes sweaty.
* Now add boiling water and chicken broth in equal measure, to just cover the cauliflower. Bring the liquid to a simmer, put the cover on the pot ajar, and simmer lively until the cauliflower florets are soft enough to mash into a chunky soup. Finish cooking the cauliflower chunks to quite al dente (very firmly tender), tasting and correcting their broth for salt. (You could add hot red pepper, if you like it hot.)
* Off heat, add Pecorino Romano, grated, crumbled, or both.
* Boil spoon-sized pasta (such as small shells, orecchiete, or spaghetti snapped into inch-lengths) until still well short of al dente; use a small sieve or slotted spoon to transfer the dripping wet pasta from its pot into the cauliflower pot, to finish cooking together with the cauliflower in its broth. Add pasta cooking water as needed, to keep the cauliflower soup soupy.
* Serve in pasta bowls with soup spoons, and grated cheese and hot red pepper on the table.


(from Blog the Thirty-ninth)

*  Sauté an abundant amount of finely sliced onion, salted, in a pond of olive oil, covered, until sweaty and glistening with the oil. Uncover, and add one small clove of finely sliced garlic. Continue sautéing uncovered, flipping periodically, until the onion blushes golden.
*  Meanwhile, slice carrot and celery to together equal the onion in bulk.  Slice them into slender discs, demilunes, or crescents, depending on size. Fold them into the onion blushed golden, with their share of salt. Sauté to glistening and aromatic.
*  Mix in pelati (whole tomatoes, imported from Italy!), seeded and chopped, with salt, to equal in bulk the aromatics. Add a hot red pepper or two, if you like it hot. Sauté the tomatoes for five minutes, down to a chunky aromatic sauce.
*  Meanwhile, cut peeled potato halves a few times lengthwise, and then crosswise pencil-thick, for spoonable cuts of potato; soak in water until ready to add to the sauce.
*  When the sauce is sauce, fold the potato pieces with their share of salt into the chunky aromatic sauce, and cover to steam to glistening, with a flip or two in between. When they glisten, add equal amounts chicken broth and boiling water, to cover by a few inches. Bring this liquid to a steady simmer, and simmer the potatoes to tender, 10-15 minutes. Taste and correct for more salt, pepper, or oil.
*  Boil pasta in water salty as the sea, at a rolling boil, until still too al dente. With a sieve or slotted spoon, transfer the pasta dripping to the simmering potato minestra, and finish cooking for a minute or two in the potato minestra.  As soon as the pasta is barely al dente, remove the pot from the heat and let rest.
*  Before serving, mix in Pecorino-Romano crumbled, grated, or both, with more for the table, along with pepper, black, red, or both.




* Slice half a Savoy cabbage lengthwise in inch-wide lengths, and then cross-wise in half-inch chunks.  Soak in cold water while bringing a big pot of walter salty as the sea to a rolling boil (perhaps with red peppers or black peppercorns thrown in). Parboil the chopped cabbage for 5-10 minutes, to just tender.  Use a sieve or slotted spoon to remove the cabbage to a colander (and perhaps save the water for boiling the pasta later).
* Take a mega-onion and slice it finely into a mound of inch-long onion hair.  Sauté it salted in a generous pond of olive oil, covered, until sweaty and glistening with the oil. Uncover, and add one large clove of finely sliced garlic. Continue sautéing uncovered, flipping periodically, until the onion blushes golden.
* Meanwhile, slice carrot and celery to together equal the onion in bulk.  Slice them into spoonable discs, demilunes, or crescents. Fold them into the onion blushed golden, with their share of salt. Sauté to glistening and aromatic.
* Mix in pelati (whole tomatoes, imported from Italy!), seeded and chopped, with their share of salt, double the bulk of the sautéed aromatics. Add a hot red pepper or two, if you like it hot. Sauté the tomatoes, for five minutes, down to a chunky sauce.  Then add equal amounts of chicken broth and boiling water to cover by several inches, and bring the tomatoey broth to a lively simmer.
* Meanwhile, cut string beans down to inch-lengths, and soak with peas.  When the tomatoey broth hits a lively simmer, add the two greens, to simmer steadily for at least 10 minutes.
* Meanwhile, cut peeled potato halves a few times lengthwise, and then crosswise pencil-thick, for spoonable cuts of potato; soak in water until ready to add to the sauce.
* When the simmering beans and peas start to soften, add the chopped potato with the par-boiled cabbage and a cup or two of cooked pinto beans.  Bring the now orange minestra to a steady simmer and simmer 10 more minutes before tasting for tenderness, more salt, more pepper, or more oil.  As soon as the vegetables turn tender and the flavors blend polyphonically, turn off the heat and let the minestra rest.
* Break down at least 3 types of pasta to spoon-sized.  Boil them in water salty as the sea at a rolling boil.  Meanwhile, bring the vegetable minestra back to a simmer.  When the pasta is almost al dente, yet not, use a sieve or slotted spoon to transfer the pasta dripping into the simmering minestra.  Finish cooking the pasta to al dente in the minestra.  Now it's minestrone!
* Off heat, mix in Pecorino-Romano, crumbled, grated, or both.  Let the minestrone rest and cool a bit before serving in bowls, with more cheese and pepper at table.




Asparagus 'n Penne
(from Blog the Fifteenth)

* Boil or steam asparagus in salted water to fork-tender.
* Prepare a bit of tasty marinara sauce, by first sauteing finely chopped garlic in extra virgin olive oil, then adding pelati (whole peeled tomatoes imported from Italy!) with salt, and boiling them down at a lively but not angry simmer to a pulpy sauce, smashing them with your spatula during the continual stirrings.
* Besides your pre-cooked asparagus and sauce, have ready-to-hand a cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese and two eggs beaten with a dollop of milk, salt, and lots of freshly grated black pepper.
* Boil less than a pound of penne in well-salted water to al dente (firm, yet tender), drain it well, and return it to the pot. First mix in the asparagus and grated cheese, to dissipate the pasta's heat. Then quickly mix in the beaten egg, with vigorous stirrings.  To this creamy mass of pasta, mix in only as much of the sauce as needed to turn the creamy pasta rosy. Taste for salt and pepper -- you'll probably need more pepper.
* Serve it up quick and hot, creamy, billowy, and rosy, along with more grated Pecorino Romano and a pepper mill at the table.



Zucchini 'n Penne
(from Blog the Seventeenth)

* Slice a lot of onion thinly, and slice the zucchini into pencil-thick demilunes.
* In a pan broad enough to accommodate the penne later, first cover and steam a goodly amount of salted onion in a goodly amount of olive oil until sweaty; then uncover and sauté to golden. Next add some chopped tomato for color, along with torn basil leaves, and cook down for 5 minutes into a little salsina.
* Add zucchini demilunes, salt, cover, and steam to sweaty; then uncover and sauté to glistening, tender, and tasty.
* Boil penne to short of al dente. Drain and pour into the pan of sizzling zucchini. Mix until the pasta glistens with the zucchini oil.
* At the end, mix in crumbled bits of Pecorino Romano. Serve at table with grated Pecorino Romano.



Risotto Parmigiano
(from Blog the Twenty-fourth)

*  Make delicious broth.  Don’t bother with this risotto, if you’re unwilling or unable.  Have a lazily simmering pot of broth at hand besides your risotto pot, at least 2 cups broth per 1 cup rice.
*  Figure on ½-cup of Arborio rice plus 1-tablespoon butter per person, and ¼ small onion per cup of rice.  (For example, for 2 people, 1 cup rice, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 onion.)
*  Mince the onion fine.  To half as much light oil, add all the butter save 1-tablespoon (for later), in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, together with the minced onion.  As soon as the onion starts sizzling, keep stirring and saute it to translucent and sweet-smelling.
*  Add the rice, and stir, scrape, flip, and fold, until the rice glistens with the butter and the butter starts to foam.  Now add a ladleful of broth, for a searing sizzle, and stir it into the rice, which will soften and amass.  Now stir in a shot or two of light white wine.
*  Continue cooking for about 15 more minutes, adding a ladleful or two of broth at a time, continuously stirring it with long loving strokes, sliding your spatula under the rice and then flipping it over, folding it into itself.  Be rhythmic, graceful, perhaps wistful.  When the soupy rice cooks back down to creamy, allowing streaks of pot to appear from below, add another ladle or two of broth, and continue stirring, sliding, flipping, and folding, for another round of soupy to creamy.
*  After 15 minutes, taste for doneness.  You want each grain to remain whole and distinct, but be tender throughout.  If there’s still a dense core, keep feeding the rice broth, and tasting.  When you feel a last bit of density ready to give way to tenderness, then turn up the head to fervid, add one last ladleful or less of broth, and stir vivace, con moto!, to inflate the rice on the fumes of the boiling broth.
*  Remove the pot from heat, and add that last tablespoon of butter, a big palmful or two of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and freshly ground black pepper.  Vigorously blend it into the rice, and then taste.  More salt?  More cheese?  More pepper?
*  Cover the pot and let the risotto rest 5 minutes while you get your guests to the table, with a bowl of more cheese and a pepper mill.  When time to serve up bowls of the risotto, fluff it first with some vigorous stirring, sliding, flipping, and folding.


Porcini Risotto
(from Blog the Twenty-fourth)

*  Make delicious broth.  If you instead use one can of beef broth, two of chicken, and 1 of water, I don’t want to know about it.   
*  Figure on ½-cup of Arborio rice plus 1-tablespoon butter per person, and ¼ onion per cup of rice.  Then figure on 1 packet of dried porcini per 1 cup of rice.  (For example, for 2 people, 1 cup rice, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 onion, one 2-oz. packet of dried porcini.)
*  Warm up some milk while rinsing the porcini, one at a time, under a running trickle of water.  Pour milk just short of scalding bubbles over the porcini in a bowl, just to cover.  After at least 20 minutes, squeeze the porcini dry, letting the milk drip back into the bowl.  Chop the porcini fine.  Save the milk
*  Mince the onion fine.  To half as much light oil, add all the butter save 1-tablespoon, in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, together with the minced onion.  As soon as the onion starts sizzling, keep stirring and saute it to translucent and sweet-smelling.
*  Add the rice, and stir, scrape, flip, and fold, until the rice glistens with the butter and the butter starts to foam.  Now add a ladleful of broth, for a searing sizzle, and stir it into the rice, which will soften and amass.
*  Now very slowly and gently pour the milk out the bowl into the pot, stopping short to leave all the sediment behind the bowl.  Stir the milk into the rice and let it simmer away.
*  Continue cooking the rice with broth, adding a ladleful or two of broth at a time, continuously stirring it with long loving strokes, sliding your spatula under the rice and then flipping it over, folding it into itself.  Be rhythmic, graceful, perhaps wistful.  When the soupy rice cooks back down to creamy, allowing streaks of pot to appear from below, add another ladle or two of broth and continue stirring, sliding, flipping, and folding, for another round of soupy to creamy.
* After almost ten minutes, add the minced porcini with a ladleful of broth.  Continue stirring, sliding, flipping, and folding, as heretofore.
*  After 15 minutes, taste for doneness.  You want each grain to remain whole and distinct, but be tender throughout.  If there’s still a dense core, keep feeding the rice broth, and tasting.  When you feel a last bit of density ready to give way to tenderness, then turn up the head to fervid, add one scant ladleful or less of broth, and stir vivace, con moto!, to inflate the rice on the fumes of the boiling broth.
*  Remove the pot from heat, and add that reserved tablespoon of butter, a big palmful or two of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and freshly ground black pepper.  Vigorously blend it into the rice, and then taste.  More salt?  More cheese?  More pepper?
*  Cover the pot and let the risotto rest 5 minutes while you get your guests to the table, with a bowl of more Parmigiano and a pepper mill.  When time to serve up bowls of the risotto, fluff it first with some vigorous stirring, sliding, flipping, and folding.
* Eat it fresh and fluffy, and finish it, for it will never be as good as it is in this its finest hour.  


Baby Bella Mushroom Risotto
(from Blog the Sixth)

* Melt a wad of butter into a pool of extra virgin olive oil, and add Baby Bella mushroom slices with showers of salt.
* Saute at first on low heat to draw the water out of the mushrooms, then on heat high to boil the water away.
* When the boiling liquid reduces to sizzling oil, add a goodly amount of chopped garlic and generous grindings of black pepper. Saute the mushrooms with the garlic until savory. Off heat, add Arborio rice and stir to coat with mushroom oil; then leave it sit.
* When ready to make risotto, reheat rice and keep stirring as rice sautes for a few minutes and turns pearly. Then add a ladleful or two of broth and keep stirring it in, until the mass of rice reduces from soupy to creamy. Then add more broth, and repeat, stirring all the while, until the rice grains are al dente and the mass of rice is fluffy, creamy, and undulating.
* Off heat, mix in a wad of butter and tablespoons of freshly grated Parmigiano. Then cover rice and let rest for a few minutes. Before serving, beat it back to fluffy.


Celery Risotto (yes, just celery!)

* Make delicious broth, and don’t bother with this risotto, if you’re unwilling or unable to. Have a lazily simmering pot of broth at hand besides your risotto pot, at least 2 cups broth per 1 cup rice. Figure on ½-cup of Arborio rice plus 1-tablespoon butter per person (e.g., for 4 people, 2 cups rice & 4 tablespoons butter,).
* Pull apart a head of celery, discarding tough, green, outside stalks. Chop (by hand) the whitest and tenderest stalks of heart fine, along with their loveliest leaves, and set apart (about 1/4-cup). Chop the remaining stalks fine (for about 1 cup/ 2 cups rice), and do not be ashamed to use a food processor, but taking care to pulse for chopped celery, not puree.
* Mince half an onion fine. Add three tablespoons of butter to half as much light oil, in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, together with the minced onion, salted. As soon as the onion starts sizzling, keep stirring and saute it to translucent and sweet-smelling.
* Add the cup of finely chopped celery, with a shower of salt, and saute it with the onion. When it turns sweaty and translucent, grind fresh grindings of black pepper all over it. Keep sauteing until it softens and glistens, permeated with oily butter.
* Add the rice, and stir, scrape, flip, and fold, and saute it with the celery, until the rice in turn glistens with the oily butter. Now add a ladleful of broth, for a searing sizzle, and stir it into the rice, which will soften and amass. Now stir in a shot or two of light white wine.
* Continue cooking for about 10 minutes, adding a ladleful or two of broth at a time, continuously stirring it with long loving strokes, sliding your spatula under the rice and then flipping it over, folding it into itself. Be rhythmic, graceful, perhaps wistful. When the soupy rice cooks back down to creamy, allowing streaks of pot to appear from below, add another ladle or two of broth, and continue stirring, sliding, flipping, and folding, for another round of soupy to creamy.
* After less than 10 minutes, add the 1/4-cup of tender chopped celery heart.
* After 5 more minutes or so, begin checking for doneness. You want each grain to remain whole and distinct, but be tender throughout. If there’s still a dense core, keep feeding the rice broth, and tasting. When you feel a last bit of density ready to give way to tenderness, then turn up the head to fervid, add one last ladleful or less of broth, and stir vivace, con moto!, to inflate the rice on the fumes of the boiling broth.
* Remove the pot from heat, and add that last tablespoon of butter, a big palmful or two of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and freshly ground black pepper. Vigorously blend it into the rice, and then taste. More salt? More cheese? More pepper?
* Cover the pot and let the risotto rest 5 minutes while you get your guests to the table, with a bowl of more cheese and a pepper mill. When time to serve up bowls of the risotto, fluff it first with some vigorous stirring, sliding, flipping, and folding.