Lately, I have discovered something really tasty and useful to keep in my kitchen cupboards. It’s a whole range of great products from Casale Paradiso. What I like about this Italian brand, is a fantastic variety of ready prepared mixes of risotto rice, pasta, soups and herbal seasonings. Frankly speaking, I prefer cooking from scratch, yet sometimes on those busy or lazy days, when the cooking inspiration doesn’t come, I like to grab one of those risotto packages and enjoy the aromatic flavours it contains.
Risotto is one of my favorite Italian dishes. I love the simplicity of this dish, its creamy consistency and a great amount of individuality you can attach to it. It is all up to your imagination what other ingredients you want to use to enhance the taste and the presentation. My best ever risotto recipes include risotto with cooked ham, carrots and peas, wild mushroom risotto and champagne risotto (expect a post about this bubbly rice in the near future). However, I must say, I am a big fan of Casale Paradiso truffle, lemon and saffron risotto mixes. I tested all three and they tasted amazing.
In one of my future posts I will show you how to cook risotto step by step. If you need the instructions immediately, refer to Jamie Oliver’s cook book Jamie’s Kitchen, pages 118-119. All you need to prepare a great risotto dish is a good quality Abrorio rice, white wine, stock, white or red onion and a dash of finesse, creativity and elegance. Work with the basic ingredients and your epicurean soul to deliver a luscious risotto; pair it with a crispy salad of rucola; add freshly grated Parmigiano on top and serve with a glass of well chilled white wine. Divine!
(Casale Paradiso products are available in London/UK and Haarlem/NL in selected speciality food stores. I bought mine at the local fishmonger in Greenwich and received some extra packs from my friend living in Holland)
Saffron Risotto from Casale Paradiso mix
Serves 4 (1 risotto package)
You will need:
1 package of Saffron risotto
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (optional, already exists in the mix, yet I really like the extra smell and flavour it gives)
2 garlic cloves, chopped (optional, already exists in the mix)
1 large glass of white wine
500 ml vegetable stock or hot boiled water
2 handfuls of freshly grated Parmigiano (parmesan cheese)
1 knob of butter or olive oil spread
salt and pepper
basil leaves, to garnish
Heat the olive oil. Fry the onion and garlic until lightly coloured. Add the risotto rice and fry over medium heat stirring constantly until it becomes semitransparent. Add the wine – bend your head down towards the pan and enjoy this beautiful smell! Let the liquid evaporate but continue to stir the mixture. Add the first ladle of hot stock. Reduce the heat, allow the stock to be absorbed, add another ladle of stock and keep stirring the rice. Continue the process. It will take 15-25 minutes. Season the rice carefully. Turn off the heat. Add one handful of Parmigiano and a knob of butter. Cover and allow to rest for a minute or so. Served immediately, sprinkled with the remaining cheese and basil leaves on top. Lovely!