Confession #1: I have an Italian love.
Confession #2 EJ is aware and completely okay with it.
I met Laura while studying abroad my senior year and I can honestly say that I’ve never met another person that I’ve had such an instant connect with despite the language barrier. A great deal of our early conversations involved ALOT of gestures and dictionaries, yet somehow we both knew it was worth the effort. When you met Laura, besides her gorgeous Italian looks (jealous!) that first thing you notice or sense is her kindness and warmth.
I’m mentioned once or twice, that during my studying ab I began correcting/working through my disordered eating habits and warped body image and although she probably doesn’t realize it, I couldn’t have done it without her. There is something about meeting people or someone completely new, from a completely different culture and walk of life that loves you, for you.
Although, I was an ocean away from everything I knew and loved, I felt so loved by these people I had just met. Laura is also a wonderful Italian cook and although I didn’t spend alot of time cooking while I was abroad, I watch others like a hawk.
Of the many life lessons, Italian phrases and recipes Laura taught me, one was traditional risotto. So whenever I’m missing her or want to reminisce, I like to cook her risotto.
The most important tip she gave me about cooking risotto is to be patient, stir constantly and put love into every dish you make.
- 1 shallot
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp of olive oil (some use butter)
- 1/2 white wine
- 30 ounces of chicken stock
- 1.5 cups of Arborio rice
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups wild mushrooms
- 1tsp fresh Italian parsley
In a small saucepan bring chicken stock to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. In a medium saucepan, (warmed) add your olive oil and finely chopped shallots and garlic.
STIR! It is critical that you don’t allow these to brown or worse burn. 1 minute TOPS. Next add your mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes, basically allowing the mushrooms to cook down. Add the rice and mix/stir for about 1 minute.
Next add your wine and STIR.
Teeheehee. I couldn’t resist. Allow the rice to absorb wine and once it has, ladle (about 1/2 cup) of stock into the rice mixture. STIR until the stock is absorbed about 1-2 minutes. Continue this process until the rice is soft to taste, but still has a bite. The amount of stock necessary isn’t precise and that is part of the fun of cooking risotto. Once you are satisfied with the texture, add your Parmesan and parsley.
I served mine on a bed of spinach, because that is how I do it but it is just as wonderful alone. Mine will NEVER taste as good as Laura’s risotto but I love remembering all of our adventures while cooking. 🙂
The best part is my Italian lovely is moving to Chi-town in October!! When she told me, I about fall out of my chair. I can’t wait for the day that she is only a 3 hour car ride away!