Tag: risotto

Lemon Mascarpone Risotto with Crispy Sage

Lemon Mascarpone Risotto with Crispy Sage

Since I started sharing my recipes on eat in my kitchen, I’ve been wanting to make this risotto. It took a while, but here it is:

I don’t know why, but there’s something about risotto that only inspires me when I see the cooked rice on my plate, ready to dig a fork into the white grains. I can’t say that I don’t like risotto, indeed, I find it delicious when it’s made well, but somehow it’s not an easy relationship. Originally I had something more puristic in mind: just lemon zest and juice stirred into Arborio rice cooked to creamy perfection. I had enough time to think about the recipe – about 2 and 3/4 years – so it changed a little over the years and in the end, the composition became a bit more refined.

I cooked the starchy grains with a few slices of the citrus fruit’s tangy peel, a dash of white wine, and my homemade vegetable broth, which I always keep in my freezer in stacks of tupperware. When the texture was just right – neither too soggy nor too dry – I stirred in a scoop of rich mascarpone and let it sit for a minute. While the rice thickened, I took out the pan and fried some fresh sage in butter for less than 20 seconds. The leaves should retain their deep green colour and only become a little golden and crispy. If they turn too dark, you can throw them in the bin, they will be bitter and inedible. I grated Parmesan and a bit more lemon zest on top and enjoyed one of the lightest, freshest, and most summery risottos I can imagine. Needless to say, a glass of white wine goes very well with the citrusy version of this Italian classic.

Lemon Mascarpone Risotto with Crispy Sage

 

Lemon Mascarpone Risotto with Crispy Sage

Lemon Mascarpone Risotto with Crispy Sage

Serves 2

olive oil
butter 2 tablespoons
medium onion, finely chopped, 1
Arborio rice 200g / 7 ounces
white wine 60ml / 1/4 cup
vegetable broth about 900ml / 3 3/4 cups
long strips of lemon peel 4
mascarpone 2 tablespoons
salt
ground pepper
large fresh sage leaves 12
freshly grated lemon zest 1-2 teaspoons
freshly grated Parmesan 1 tablespoon

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes or until golden and soft. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and a ladle of the broth, the rice should be covered. Stir in the lemon peel and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add more broth when it’s all soaked, a little at a time, stirring gently. When the rice is al dente and the broth is more or less absorbed, take it off the heat, and stir in 1 tablespoon of mascarpone. Season with salt and pepper to taste, close with a lid, and let the risotto sit for a minute.

In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over high heat and add the sage leaves. Let them cook for about 20 seconds or until golden and crispy, but still green.

Divide the risotto between 2 plates, drizzle with the sage oil, and sprinkle with the sage leaves, lemon zest, and Parmesan.

Lemon Mascarpone Risotto with Crispy Sage

 

lemonmascarponerisotto8

 

lemonmascarponerisotto7

meet in your kitchen | Isa’s Beetroot Risotto with Chèvre and Mint

Beetroot Risotto with Chèvre and Mint

On to part II of Berlin’s Hauptstadtmutti cooking session! The popular mother, fashion and lifestyle blog is run by Isa and Claudia, both such vibrant and inspiring ladies that I had to visit both of their culinary spaces. Two weeks ago, I learned how to make Claudia’s Ukrainian Pelmeni dumplings (you can read about it here) and now it’s time to cook in Isa’s kitchen.

It was cold and snowy as I made my way to meet Isa, the city was wrapped in a wintery grey and, although it was already 10 in the morning, it was quite dark when I reached the old house where the young mother lives with her little family of four. The imposing building is one of the few on the street which hasn’t been renovated, the facade crumbling between the majestic window frames which gives it quite a morbid charm, you can still see the beauty of the past. It looks a bit like an abandoned house in a fairy tale, it’s more than impressive and it sparked my fantasy when I walked up the creaking steps to knock on Isa’s wooden door. But then, when I entered her home, I was speechless, endless rooms and corridors, herringbone parquet floors, high ceilings lined with decorative stucco and large windows which let in the most dreamy light. Within seconds I fell in love with this elegant but cosy home!

Beetroot Risotto with Chèvre and Mint

Isa started Hauptstadtmutti in 2011 together with Claudia. In the first part of our cooking series I talked about their fascinating and complementary personalities which led to the two meet in your kitchen features. Both women share an international upbringing which confronted them with various cultures at a young age. Claudia grew up with an Eastern European background and Isa had quite an adventurous childhood, she lived in Baghdad in Iraq during the first 4 years of her life. Her father was a successful engineer who used to live in East Germany with his wife before his skills took him and his young family to the Middle East to design pump stations. Back in East Germany, he was also involved in the construction of the GDR’s first nuclear power station. Despite this experience, or perhaps because of it, the whole family turned to a more alternative lifestyle in the following years. They became politically active, focussed on natural home grown food and raised awareness for healthy living.

As a teenager, Isa joined yoga and meditation classes together with her father and mother. Today, her parents practice Tai Chi together with their friends in the family’s grand garden which is part of an old farm established by Isa’s grandfather. The family takes their well-being into their own hands, one generation after the other, and the next one is waiting in line. Isa passes her experiences on to her children and although they are still quite young they can already enjoy her delicious food. Isa’s cooking truly pleases the taste buds, she creates culinary moments of bliss without regrets, her food is healthy, with organic ingredients, and full of flavour. She made a fantastic beetroot risotto for me, it was  cooked to perfection, the rice corns and roots were al dente, just how I like it. She refined her composition with chèvre, parmesan and fresh mint – a great composition I can only recommend!

Beetroot Risotto with Chèvre and Mint

Beetroot Risotto with Chèvre and Mint

For 2-3 people you need

small beetroot 2
risotto rice (Arborio) 250g / 9 ounces
onions 2
glove of garlic 1
honey 1 tablespoon
a shot of white wine
vegetable broth 1/2-1 l / 1-2 pints
grated parmesan cheese, a handful
butter 1 tablespoon
olive oil
salt and pepper
mint 4 small branches
fresh goat cheese (chèvre), for the topping

Peel the beetroot, garlic and onions and cut them into cubes. The larger the beetroot cubes, the more bite they’ll have. Warm up the broth in a saucepan, it should be simmering.

In a large pan, heat some olive oil and cook the onions and garlic until glassy and soft. Add the beetroot and honey to the onion and let it caramelise slightly, add the rice and let it cook for a minute. Deglaze with a splash of white wine and add a ladle of broth. When the liquid has been absorbed add more broth, a little at a time stirring in between. When the rice is al dente, take the pan off the heat. Stir in the butter and parmesan cheese and let them melt into the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with chèvre and mint to serve.

Beetroot Risotto with Chèvre and Mint

 

Beetroot Risotto with Chèvre and Mint

You spent the first three years of your life in Iraq due to your father’s work as an engineer before your family moved back to East Germany. How did this experience influence your family and how did it effect your own personality?

Concerning that I should probably explain that my parents were neither in the communist party nor in the homeland security of former East Germany so it was quite a mission for them to get to live and work outside the country. But they made it because of their skills and raised my brother and I to believe that “You can get everywhere if you really want it”. That really brought me to a lot of places and made me later want to live in other countries as well. We also have a very open minded attitude towards other cultures in our family.

Do you think traveling is important for children to get to know different cultures and mentalities? Can you give some tips for traveling with young children?

If they are very young I don’t know. They will not really remember it. We did not travel too far away with our kids yet. Switzerland, France, Denmark. It is not that stressful for them but sometimes for us, the parents. Sometimes it is more fun to spend a week at the Baltic Sea than to travel for hours and hours. It is always good to have plenty of books with you, especially Wimmelbücher (picture books).

Your parents encouraged a great awareness for natural food and a healthy lifestyle by their own way of living. How did they influence your consumption, your cooking and the food you buy?

Oh yes, my mother was very into healthy food when we were young and still is. She cooks her own jams from the fruits of her garden and we always ate fruits and vegetables from the garden. She always uses fresh and natural ingredients. The older I get, and of course with children, I try to live as healthy as I can too. I usually buy local or organic fruits and vegetables.

You went to high school in the US for one year, what fascinated you about this new culture? What are your culinary memories?

Everybody was very very friendly and I just had a very great teenage time there. Culinary memories? Donuts, cheeseburger, tacos and ice cream (smiling)!

As an au pair in Paris, you also experienced the French cuisine for one year. What did you like about the food there?

It is very pure, many vegetables and beef and lots of seafood. I liked that very much and the oysters. I learned how to eat oysters. Delicious!

Did your cooking change since you became a mother? Do you have any tips to make cooking for and eating with young children easier?

I really changed into organic and local food. Eating with young children is easy. I always cooked the baby food by myself. This is totally easy and does not take a long time. What I learned is that young children want a variety and a change of food every day. They do not like to eat the same thing every day over and over. My tip is to always try to eat the same as your kids. They copy you and will (often) try more.

What was the first dish you cooked on your own, what is your first cooking memory?

The first dish was Spaghetti Bolognese. I learned this when I was 12 when my mother was away for an allergy cure and our father taught it to my brother and I.

As a fashion observer and blogger, which are your 3 most helpful fashion tips for young mothers?

1. Always carry a large scarf for nursing in public.
2. Get a new haircut. It makes you feel good.
3. Buy at least 3 shirts or dresses which make nursing comfortable.

Where do you find creative inspiration?

In Berlin, walking around the city and on the internet reading international blogs and magazines.

What are your favourite places to buy and enjoy food in Berlin?

I love to eat at Cordobar. Great food and the largest selection of wine. And I like to buy food at Mitte Meer.

What did you choose to share on eat in my kitchen?

Beetroot risotto.

If you could choose one person to cook a meal for you, who and what would it be?

Janine (a friend), roasted root vegetables.

You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table?

Risotto!

What was your childhood’s culinary favourite and what is it now?

Spaghetti Bolognese and now it is fish, especially Sushi.

Do you prefer to cook on your own or together with others?

Together with others.

Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?

Planned.

Which meal would you never cook again?

Octopus.

Thank you Isa!

Beetroot Risotto with Chèvre and Mint

 

Beetroot Risotto with Chèvre and Mint

 

Beetroot Risotto with Chèvre and Mint

 

Beetroot Risotto with Chèvre and Mint

 

Beetroot Risotto with Chèvre and Mint

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

There’s something about fresh sage cooked in a little olive oil to the point of perfection! When the thick leaves become all glossy and golden, crisp and so full of flavour that they turn a simple dish into a fragrant composition with such ease – that’s exactly what this bunch of herbal crunchiness did with my simple risotto!

Our dinner started innocent and pure, I just cooked my Arborio rice with some chopped onions in white wine and broth before I mixed in juicy slices of golden sautéed zucchini. The vegetable added a fruitiness which made the whole composition light and fresh, but the crisp sage leaves on top put it on another level. The rich oil they cooked in was an aromatic concentrate of the herbs best qualities, warm and strong! When I arranged the risotto on the plates, I poured this herbal essence over the rice to coat them with this golden syrup.

That’s the secret to a great risotto (and not only for risotto), combining just a handful of ingredients that allow their individual qualities to spark!

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

 

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

For 4 people you need

zucchini, cut in half and sliced, 350g / 12.5 ounces
sage leaves 30
Arborio rice 400g / 14 ounces
medium sized onion, finely chopped, 2
vegetable broth around 1800ml / 4 pints (depending on the rice you will need more or less liquid)
white wine 120ml / 4 ounces
salt and black pepper
olive oil
butter 1 tablespoon

Sauté the zucchini in a little olive oil in a pan until golden on both sides and soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil and add the sage leaves. Let them fry until golden and crisp, for about 1 minute but mind that they don’t turn dark, set the pan aside.

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil and the butter, add the onions and cook on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes until soft. Stir in the rice and cook on medium heat for about a minute. Add the wine and some of the broth, the rice should be covered, stir and turn the heat down to medium-low. When the liquid has been absorbed add more broth, a little at a time stirring in between. Depending on the rice, it will need more or less liquid. When the rice is al dente and the broth is more or less absorbed take it off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Close with a lid and let the risotto sit for a minute.

Divide the risotto and zucchini between the plates, sprinkle with some of the sage oil and top with crisp sage leaves, serve immediately.

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

 

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

 

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

Parmesan Risotto with crunchy Fava Beans

Parmesan Risotto with Fava Beans

When my sister told me abut her latest risotto discovery from her trip to Italy, she sounded so thrilled that I couldn’t wait to get the pot on the cooker. She was talking about a parmesan risotto which by itself isn’t necessarily spectacular but this one is different. It’s made with bigger pieces of cheese which are stirred into the creamy rice when the risotto is done. The parmesan melts, partly, but a few crumbs keep their crunchy center which makes it taste stronger, more concentrated. I was absolutely impressed, this method of preparation lifts parmesan risotto onto another level!

I had some fava beans left on my window sill which I added to the rice, I prefer to have some vegetables with my risotto. Be it a simple salad or some sautéed greens on the side, I need my vitamins as much as my carbohydrates! I fried the beans with some garlic, deglazed them with white wine and let them simmer for a few minutes. I wanted them al dente, a crisp topping for my smooth risotto!

I cooked the risotto with the water I had used to cook asparagus in a few days ago. It’s a light broth which I always keep and freeze, great for recipes which need a soft vegetable aroma.

Parmesan Risotto with Fava Beans

Parmesan Risotto with Fava Beans

For 4-5 people you need

Arborio rice 400g / 15 ounces
medium sized onion, chopped finely, 2
broth around 2200ml / 4.5 pints
parmesan, cut into 1cm / 1/2″ cubes, 80g / 3 ounces
fava beans, peeled out of their pods and shells, 800g / 28 ounces (around 300g / 10.5 ounces peeled beans)
garlic, roughly chopped, 1 clove
white wine 120ml / 4 ounces
salt and black pepper
olive oil for frying
butter 2 tablespoons

In a large pan, heat a little olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter, add the garlic and beans and fry on a medium heat for a few minutes until golden. Deglaze with half of the wine and let it cook for a minute. Season with salt and pepper and add the rest of the wine, close with a large lid and let it simmer for 5 minutes or until al dente. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large pot, fry the onions in a little olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter until golden and soft, stir in the rice and fry on a medium heat for a minute. Add some of the broth, the rice should be covered, stir and turn the heat down to medium-low. When the liquid has been absorbed add more broth, a little at a time stirring in between. Depending on the rice, it needs more or less liquid. When the rice is al dente and the broth is more or less absorbed take it off the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the parmesan, close with a lid and let it sit for a minute. Arrange on plates together with the fava beans.

Parmesan Risotto with Fava Beans

 

Parmesan Risotto with Fava Beans

A Purple Risotto with Bitter Radicchio

Radicchio Risotto

When it comes to risotto I like the rice to have a bit of bite, with a velvety texture and not too liquid. I always make mine with broth and wine adding a little at a time so that I don’t miss the point of my favoured texture. What’s great about this meal is that it’s made of ingredients which I usually have in stock. There are always one or two vegetables in my fridge waiting to be used and Arborio rice, onions, garlic, olive oil and wine to cook is on my shelves anyway. So it’s perfect for an indecisive day when I don’t know what to put on my cooker, or I don’t have the time to think about dinner. Conveniently, it’s also ready in half an hour!

My purple risotto has a biting bitterness from the radicchio which combines very well with the thyme. The rice is infused with the strong flavours in my broth and spices. I use a bay leaf and cloves which introduce a woody element to the bitterness (although that sounds strange, it describes it best!). When I cook with radicchio I like to have a strong counterpart to balance out its dominant character.

Radicchio Risotto

 Radicchio Risotto with Spices and Thyme

For 2 hungry people you need

Arborio rice 200g / 7 ounces
radicchio, quartered and cut into slices, 1 medium sized head
(I cut a few radicchio slices very thinly which I leave uncooked for the topping)
onion, chopped finely, 1
garlic, cut in half, 1 clove
red wine around 200ml
broth 1200-1500ml
thyme leaves from  4-6 sprigs
bay leaf 1
cloves 2
salt and black pepper
olive oil for frying
butter 1 tablespoon

In a large pot, fry the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until golden and soft, stir in the rice and radicchio and fry on medium temperature for a couple minutes. Deglaze with 1/3 of the wine, let it cook until evaporated and repeat twice, stirring in between. Add 4 sprigs of the thyme, the spices, salt and pepper and some of the stock, enough to cover the rice. The temperature should be between low and medium. When the liquid has been absorbed continue to add more broth, a little at a time stirring in between. Depending on the rice, it sometimes needs more or less liquids. When the rice is al dente and the broth is more or less absorbed take it off the heat, take out the spices, stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on plates sprinkled with the uncooked radicchio slices and some thyme leaves.