Risotto al Barolo con Salsiccia

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. Continue reading “Risotto al Barolo con Salsiccia”

Homemade Barolo Chinato

Barolo Chinato is a spiced wine from the Italian region of Piemonte that was invented as a medicine in the late 19th century by pharmacist Giuseppe Cappellano in Turin. Commercial versions of Barolo Chinato are matured for over a year in oak barrels, but it is possible to make a very acceptable version at home. That is great, because Barolo Chinato is very good with chocolate and chocolate-based desserts, and it is quite hard to find outside of Italy. After maturation in the bottle only it is not the same as the commercial product, but a very acceptable substitute. It is very easy to make and only requires some patience (about a month). Continue reading “Homemade Barolo Chinato”

Duck Breast Sous-Vide with Duck Red Wine Demi-Glace

After yesterday’s post about duck stock, it won’t come as a surprise that today’s post features duck. I love duck meat and this duck breast with a demi-glace sauce made from duck stock and red wine was particularly nice. It also won’t be a surprise what my next post will be about, as the side dish (a butternut squash tartlet) will have a post of its own.

Now there is more to this dish than just the use of duck stock to make a demi glace (which in the modern form is just duck stock reduced until it is thick and syrupy and loaded with duck flavor). You see, I took a bit of a risk when I cooked the duck breast and duck skin separately and glued them together with Activa, and then called this ‘Perfect’ duck breast. Grant from An American Baker in London left a comment saying that he had seen something similar on Masterchef, but with the duck skin cooked sous-vide rather than in the oven to render the fat out of it before gluing it to the duck breast. The advantage of cooking the duck skin sous-vide would be avoiding shrinkage. Cooking the skin sous-vide sounded like music to my ears, and I quickly forgot that my previous version was perhaps not as perfect as I had thought it was. Continue reading “Duck Breast Sous-Vide with Duck Red Wine Demi-Glace”

Lepre alla Cacciatora (Hare Legs Stewed in Red Wine)

As I pointed out before, although both are furry and have long ears, a hare (“lepre” in Italian) is red meat and different from the white meat of a rabbit (“coniglio”). The recipe for Lepre alla Cacciatora (Hare Hunter’s Style, or in fact the wife of the hunter) is however quite similar to the recipe for Coniglio alla Cacciatora. Both are stewed in wine and tomatoes. The main differences are that hare is marinated and cooked in red wine with just a bit of tomato, whereas the rabbit isn’t marinated and cooked in white wine and tomatoes. I made this … Continue reading Lepre alla Cacciatora (Hare Legs Stewed in Red Wine)

Stuffed fillet of Venison (Involtini di Capriolo)

I picked up some more roe deer venison, which is still in season in the Netherlands, and created this ‘Italian style’ dish that is not an existing dish that I know of. You could also use regular venison or even veal or beef for this, but venison makes it just that bit more special. You can cook the involtini sous-vide or in the oven. Ingredients For 2 generous or 3 normal servings 400 grams (0.9 lbs) fillet of roe deer venison or regular venison 50 grams (2 oz) pancetta, chopped 25 grams (1 oz) dried porcini mushrooms 2 cloves garlic, … Continue reading Stuffed fillet of Venison (Involtini di Capriolo)

Roe Deer Venison sous-vide with Roe Deer Jus

One of the tastiest and most prized types of game is venison from roe deer. A roe deer (Dutch: ree, French:  chevreuil, German: Reh, Italian: capriolo) is a small species of deer that is very picky about its food. If you cannot find roe deer, you can substitute with regular venison. I recently bought a nice back of roe deer venison, part of which I turned into carpaccio and the rest I served like this. The nice thing about buying the whole back was that I also had bones to make a great jus. By cooking the venison sous-vide, you can serve … Continue reading Roe Deer Venison sous-vide with Roe Deer Jus

Beef braised in red wine (Brasato al Barolo)

A famous dish from the Piemonte region in Italy is Brasato al Barolo, beef braised in Barolo, king of the red wines. Since a bottle of good Barolo does not come cheap, it is good to realize that you can achieve an almost identical result using another wine from Piemonte made from the Nebbiolo grape that is not as expensive. And if you marinate the meat in a ziploc bag rather than in a bowl, you only need half the bottle and can drink the other half with the meat. For this dish I used a piece of chuck roast. Unfortunately … Continue reading Beef braised in red wine (Brasato al Barolo)

How to cook duck breast (with or without sous-vide)

Duck breast is a very tasty type of meat, but it is a bit different from other meats and therefore it may be a challenge to cook it perfectly tender and juicy. If you know how, it is actually not that difficult. And this time I’m not going to write as in many other posts that you should use sous-vide, because cooking it in the oven is almost as good and will give excellent results as well. I cooked two identical duck breast fillets to compare sous-vide versus oven, and the results were remarkably similar. Sous-vide was a little bit better … Continue reading How to cook duck breast (with or without sous-vide)