Today it is exactly two years ago that I started this blog. This is the 486th post, there have been almost 150,000 views, and more than 5,000 comments. It has been a great ride so far and I never could have imagined I would have learned so much from it. The fun and learning is thanks to the interaction with my readers and the blogs I follow myself — so keep it coming please!
This is an appropriate moment to try something new: at the bottom of each post I will feature a ‘flashback’ to a post from two years ago, as there are some very nice recipes there that you may have missed because I didn’t have many readers in the beginning.
And now for today’s recipe. Yesterday evening was the first serata piemontese, and it was a great success. Tonight is the next installment, with the same food but mostly different wines. I will do a full report in a later post. I included two primi piatti in my Piemontese menu: agnolotti and risotto al barolo con salsiccia. Risotto is usually made with just a bit of white wine, but Piemonte has the speciality of using red wine and quite a lot of it so the main flavor of the risotto is that of the wine. The end result will thus depend on the quality of the wine used, and though it may seem like a waste of a good barolo, I strongly urge you not to use a cheap red wine for this as that would ruin the dish. Last night everyone agreed that this risotto was different, but delicious.
Instead of doing a risotto al barolo only, I decided to include some Italian pork sausage, salsiccia. The wine makes the risotto quite astringent, and the meat helps to obtain a rounder flavor. For the meat stock I used the leftover stock from the agnolotti. It is not a problem at all that the agnolotti have released some starch into the stock — in fact, that only helps to bind the risotto.
130 grams (2/3 cup) risotto rice
1 Italian pork sausage (without additional ingredients like chili or truffle), about 100 grams (3.5 oz)
1 small onion
325 ml (1 1/3 cup) barolo wine
325 ml (1 1/3 cup) meat stock
40 grams (4 Tbsp) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
40 grams (3 Tbsp) butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add the rice and toast it over medium heat until the edges are translucent. Add half the wine and stir until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the remaining wine and stir until most of it has been absorbed.
When the rice is cooked (taste to test!), add the remaining butter and half the parmigiano. Stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Allow to rest for a few minutes.
It goes without saying that a nebbiolo-based wine is the best pairing for this. An actual Barolo may be a bit heavy, but a Barbaresco or Roero or Nebbiolo d’Alba would be perfect.
My first post on November 30, 2011 was a recipe for potato gnocchi with a gorgonzola sauce. Seeing the photo of the finished dish now makes me cringe a little, but I can assure you that it tastes a hell of a lot better than it looks. Fluffy pillowy potato gnocchi and a creamy pungent gorgonzola sauce are a great combination. Making your own potato gnocchi is not that hard, and you don’t need any special equipment for it (even though I like to cook my potatoes sous-vide for gnocchi, but oven roasting or simple boiling are fine as well).