Tuesday, May 3, 2011

We Eat The Dog's Dinner

The first time my mother and I saw risotto, we thought it looked like the dog's dinner. It tasted heavenly, and now we greet an announcement of risotto with delighted cries of, "Dog's dinner! Oh, boy!" --What do you mean, remind you not to invite us over for a meal?

Anyway, rice started in China and traveled to Mesopotamia and Persia to Egypt to Moorish Spain to Italy. Risotto is an Italian dish, and the first time my mother and I saw and ate risotto was in an Italian restaurant. It was an opera luncheon, just so you know. We ain't entirely devoid of culture. We're plenty couth, the both of us. Remember my motto, which I ... er ... borrowed from Mehitabel the cat: To hell with anything unrefined.

But I digress.

Riziculture (rice farming) was established in northern Italy by the late 1400s. The rice grown there is short-grained, such as the arborio variety used in risotto: Rice, flavorings, vegetables and often meat, fish or seafood (or frogs) are cooked together in liquid (sometimes water but usually broth, often flavored with wine). The liquid is added gradually, in several additions, with the cook stirring frequently or constantly while the liquid is absorbed. The result is usually much more rice than you expected, no matter how little you started out with, in its own thick and creamy sauce.

I made risotto the other night, using vegetarian sausage (Gimme Lean), veg broth, tomato sauce, bell peppers and onions, adding freshly grated Parmesan at the table.

It looked like the dog's dinner, but it was delicious!

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

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