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This golden Saffron Asparagus Risotto is delicate and aromatic, filled with al dente green asparagus, tender sweet peas and a touch of parmesan. I wouldn’t dare to call this dish “risotto alla milanese” since it contains some asparagus and peas but truth be told, it’s quite similar. Also, the original risotto alla milanese is usually made with beef broth and is the only risotto generally not served as a “primo”, first course, but as a sidedish. Usually serve with ossobuco, this risotto is the king of the North (…of Italy, not Westeros…). For this particular recipe, I consider it a “main meal” but it could also be served as a Primo or side dish. You can also make this dish vegetarian by substituting the chicken broth for vegetable broth and forget the parmesan. So…let’s talk saffron shall we? Saffron rules! Saffron is the most precious, Gollum style, (my god… I’m…

Butternut squash-blue cheese risotto is a great combination of flavours for this fall. Although blue cheese is a product people are black or white about… whether you love it or you hate it. It’s understandable, since it’s a quite powerful cheese, and not easy to pair. But if you are on the love side of the spectrum, this is the recipe for you. On the other end, butternut squash or you could also do it with the leftover of pumpkin you just carved for the kids… is a sweet element which needs a good contrasting element to balance it out. Those 2 together are a match made in heaven, one spicy and sharp and the other sweet and smooth, turns into a dynamic dish when put together. A well balanced dish. Also, another too often forgotten element which is important in this recipe is the : Black pepper. Yes… the black pepper…

If there is a traditional fall risotto in Italy, it’s the beloved risotto ai funghi made with those exquisite porcini mushrooms. Porcini mushroom is such an elegant and filled with flavor mushroom, if you are lucky enough to get it, in whatever form possible (fresh, canned or dry), you’ll never go back to button mushroom. Porcini mushrooms are a relatively bigger kind of mushrooms with a large stem, it’s flavor resemble meat and is quite powerful. It’s the ultimate mushroom to make risotto. The only downside of this wild mushroom is its cost… it’s a quite expensive mushroom and not always easy to find but if you do… and aren’t on a budget, get the Italian in you shine. For this particular recipe I’ve used a pack of medium size dried porcini I bought in Italy this summer. This way, you’ll have to soak the mushroom for about 20-30 minutes before use and then we’ll…

Indian spinach (Saag) is a great vegetarian dish, if you are looking for some new ideas to make light, vegetarian meals this is the way to go. Indian food has a great varieties of vegetarian dishes, always loaded with flavours, sometimes really hot, other times mild. This spinach dish is a mild spiced one and terribly easy to do. If you are feeling lazy after a long day of work, this is a rapid and healthy recipe to make. Often you’ll see Saag dishes blended into a paste, but if you eat it with rice, I prefer to keep the leaves whole. This week, I felt like cooking indian and eating lots of veggies and they know best how to cook vegetarian. I have to admit though… it’s not always easy to reproduce those authentic Indian recipes, some ingredients aren’t quite the same in my part of the world… or simply nonexistent. But to start…

Asparagus, peas and bacon paella isn’t quite a classic paella. Although originally, paellas were a rice with all the ingredients from under the nose of those making it on the rice fields would use; like mini eels, snails, rabbit, etc. So I do exactly the same, I add a few leftovers of bacon bits to finish and also a 3 days old bunch of asparagus, and finish it up with my rest of frozen peas. I mean, yes… it is a leftover meal, but it still all works together in the end, I don’t just throw all my fridge leftovers for the sake of finishing the food. Paellas are a great way to use your leftovers, also it’s a fairly easy and tasty meal. The secret of a good paella lays in the broth you add to it, which usually contains a little wine. The paellas, as opposed to risotto, should not move during…

Chicken a la florentine is such a light yet creamy meal. The term florentine is french to say from Florence, Italy. It usually means; a meat (can be chicken, pork,egg, etc) on a bed of spinach and a Mornay sauce on top. The mornay sauce is such rich and smooth sauce, it’s basically a bechamel sauce with an extra egg yolk and some a bit of good sharp cheese in it. I know what you are thinking… It’s a calories bomb this sauce… well it is! But for this dish… we’ll use just enough to cover our chicken breast and if used… with relatively lean meat and in moderation, it’s still counts as healthy! I’ve added a little touch of my favorite nuts to this dish, a little extra flavour; the famous pine nuts. (which are considered a dry fruit in Spain) Those are the caviar of nuts, and the price shows it…

A new hybrid recipe here: the “Risolla”… a mix between a risotto and a paella; Italy vs Spain. It’s a bit of both techniques, the light frying of the rice at first just like in the risotto and paella, then adding the broth and let sit with the spinach on top so they shrink down into the rice, without moving the rice until the end; that’s more typical of paella. The risotto factor is mainly in the ingredients, a good white wine and cheese to finish. So this isn’t a paella, nor a risotto; it’s a “Risolla”. The end result is less creamy than a traditional risotto because of the lack of moving the rice. But the taste is quite similar. I, often, do those hybrid meals, no disrespect to traditions, they are important and most people stick to them and it’s fine… it’s just “my tradition” is to experiment!…

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