I love pasta, this is a fact and I love it in its varied shapes and forms, though bow tie is my favourite, slathering it in green and red pesto sauces, sometimes cheesy and creamy, and this is a late realization for me that I am in love with Italian cuisine. If we talk about Italian cuisine, pizza comes next in my list but it is more like rescue food for me, when I am not in a mood to cook, though it sounds little ironical but yes it happens to food bloggers too or I remained busy with some work, I rely on pizza because Dominos always promise to deliver it in 20 minutes, at least in India.
Apart from pastas and pizzas, risotto is another dish that I love to talk about, though not much restaurants in Bangalore, at least to my knowledge, who serves good risotto. If we are talking about risotto, I have to talk about citrus, no not the flavour or fruit but the restaurant at The Leela Palace, Bangalore. You might have noticed that I talk lots about foods and restaurants, so this is no secret that I am a restaurant hopper, some of them even know me by face !!!
Citrus in The Leela Palace Kempinsky, group of 7-star hotel ,is the refreshing brasserie, which is mostly known for its freshly made pizzas, pastas makes to perfection, great salads and risotto along with some pan Asian cuisine..
…and this tuned me back to few years ago…it was our marriage anniversary, both of us then were loaded with work, so could not take the day off, and on top of that it was raining the whole day. Though it was the hottest summer months, but in Bangalore, rains does not wait for the season, its more depends upon the moods of the passing clouds. So we didn’t planned much for the day, obviously I was upset, cursing the rains (because it means traffic congestion too) and to my utmost surprise, in the afternoon, got an invitation from my DH, that he has invited me for a candle-light dinner in Citrus at The Leela Palace. That note really brought cheers to my otherwise sullen face, and DH is good in such things, he knows how to steal time between the work, I am just the opposite, and he also bought me a beautiful present for the anniversary, braving the rains, traffic congestions and b2b meetings. That also means I have to left the office an hour before the routine time, and in such cases sudden stomach pains really comes very handy, trust me and your male bosses will never took any chances…:)
A warm welcome, some melodious notes on piano , buzzing with flavours of foods and the rain (no, I am not cursing it anymore) weave some dramatic sequences straight out of a musical…but I was busy chomping down the stove hot appetizers. Next followed was a chicken risotto and baked fish in rich creamy sauce with classic caesar salad. That was for the first time, I tried risotto, I could not relate it to any dish I had before and I immensely liked it. Sometimes some food does more than just satisfying your craving, it satiate your soul too, alleviates your moods and you feel good after having it. Risotto just did that and Citrus still makes best risotto in Bangalore.
The day before yesterday, it was raining here, was more than just the passing showers as predicted, and the newly bought packet of arborio rice was begging me to go for risotto in the dinner, and with some good music too. DH has an enviable collection of some piano interludes and he listen mostly to Strauss and Mozart, am not the jazz and piano kind, for me Denver and Air supply and even old bollywood music and gazals works every time, little retro I know, but I love it that way.
Thanx for reading through my rants, here goes the recipe for risotto prima vera, the dish that can be served on its own before the main course, a rich creamy broth of deliciousness.
Arborio rice : 1 packet / around 200 gm
Seasonal vegetables : I have used carrots, zucchini, broccoli, red peppers
Celery : 1/4 cup finely chopped
Vegetable stock : 2 cups
Onion : 1 medium, chopped
Garlic : 1 tbsp, minced
Olive oil : 2 tbsp
Dry white wine : 1 cup
Salt and black pepper to season
Grated parmesan cheese : 1/2 cup or more
For making risotto, arborio rice is must but there are also some non-rice based risotto are there too. The one that I bought was flavoured, that is it was already mixed with some herbs and sun-dried tomatoes. If you are using the plain arborio rice, you can mix it with sun-dried tomatoes which gives it a nice flavour.
Cut all the vegetables in cubes, you can use any kind of vegetables, and even mushroom too.
Heat some olive oil in a deep bottom pan, and fry the garlic and onion till it becomes translucent.
Add the chopped celery and vegetables in it and saute for few minutes, let it simmer for few more minutes.
Once the vegetables becomes soft and released some of its juices, add the rice, increase the heat to medium and saute for few minutes.
Add the white wine, this adds a nice flavour and taste to the dish, so don’t ignore it.
Once the alcohol evaporates, add the hot vegetable stock, one ladle at a time.
The rice release lots of starch, so if you add hot vegetable stock gradually, it will get enough time to get cooked, giving a nice gooey texture. It will take almost 30 minutes to get the rice cooked through.
Season it well with salt and pepper, sprinkle enough parmesan cheese to cover it. Put a heavy lid on the pan and let risotto sit for few minutes.
Risotto will be soft (rice will still be aldente) with a smooth texture with a rich creamy consistency.
Served the hot risotto immediately.
Ingredient locator for Bangalore: arborio rice which is used mostly to make risotto and paella can be found in Namdhari fresh.
Enjoy the weekend and have a great day