Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Italian Comfort Food

I absolutely love tackling new culinary feats. And whenever it's a project I have had my eye on for awhile, I love tackling it in my mom's kitchen. Don't get me wrong... I'm very lucky to have a fairly well-equipped kitchen for a 27 year-old, but it's always fun to mix it up a bit.

What I love best about my kitchen is that each piece seems to have a story or background: the kitchen aid mixer I bought for $25 from my boss at the golf course I worked at through college, the pans inherited from my parents, the hotpot from my dorm that I still use when a recipe calls for hot water (seriously... cold to boiling in a shocking amount of time), the silicone food ties that I fell in love with at Sur la Table and have subsequently bought for everyone under the sun, the polka dot apron my girlfriends bought me for my birthday last year. Little memories that make my kitchen such a fun place to be.

However, as personal as it is, it doesn't quite compare to my mom's kitchen in terms of function. She has every type of chopper and slicer you can imagine*, fancy induction burners, and olive oil in flavors I can't even find in my beloved Central Market. It's just fun. Everything you need is at your fingertips and she's pretty handy as well.

My latest foodie project was something that I have been wanting to try for awhile- what we decided was comfort food in italian form: risotto! I love the flexibility to throw whatever you have on hand in it and how you can come up with a different creation each time it's made. So we started with Giada's recipe {naturally} for Red Wine Risotto with Peas... and then got a little creative.

We took her original recipe and subbed garlic salt, added crumbled pancetta, and then drizzled the top with white truffle oil. It was creamy, nutty, and delicious. In the future I think I would use less a touch less parsley and trade the parmesan for piave vecchio. I would also consider testing the recipe with white wine instead of red... the purple color threw me off a little even though it was still delicious. I know that's slightly ridiculous, but as the old adage goes... you eat with your eyes first and I like my risotto white.

Things I can't wait to try in the future:
*Seriously, I'm not lying. One time my brother and I took inventory, and the slicer collection included (but was not limited to): an egg slicer, an avocado slicer, an apple slicer, a butter slicer, a tomato slicer and at least three different kinds of cheese slicers. She literally has a "slicer drawer". What's even more sad is that it wasn't all that surprising...


for the love said...

Those silicone food loops are amazing - I have never seen those before! Probably because there isn't a Sur La Table within 100 miles of here. :( Also, your mom's kitchen sounds like Disneyland to me. How fun to be able to cook there!

Walker said...

Risotto is awesome, I make it all the time. Try these in it: roasted chicken & sun dried tomatoes, or shrimp, basil, lemon and goat cheese. Best part is the next day you make risotto cakes from the left overs.