Spending a lazy day after a busy week, what a better way to relax than preparing delicious seasonal recipes? Today we’ve prepared a fabulous “risotto con crema di carciofi e pancetta croccante” ( = risotto with cream of fresh artichokes and crispy bacon) …to die for!
Love “risotto” in all ways, actually there are just a few other dishes as popular or as versatile as risotto. At its simplest, risotto is a hearty, warming rice dish, rich with the flavours of the stock used in its making, as well as saffron, parmesan, butter and any of the hundreds of ingredients that match so perfectly with it. Risotto is not only versatile, but easy to make, and as such the dish has found popularity around the world, from home kitchens to those of the finest restaurants. But what are the origins of this Italian icon?
The history of risotto is naturally tied to the history of rice in Italy. While there are many conflicting opinions on the historical intricacies, rice was first introduced to Italy and Spain by the Arabs during the Middle Ages. The humidity of the Mediterranean was quickly found to be perfect for growing shorter-grained rices, and enormous profits were made by those selling rice in Genoa, Venice and the surrounds. The popularity of rice grew through Italy, though primarily among the wealthy owing to the still-exorbitant prices of the product. Once the outside world discovered the quality of this Italian product, however, the money poured in and the availability of the short-grains spread, making the rice far more widely accessible.
It was in Milan where the rice met its delicious destiny. Milan had been under Spanish rule for almost two centuries (hence the similar evolution of paella in Spain), and rice had become a staple. Slow-cooking also dominated the culinary landscape of the region, with Ossobucco a long-held favourite. The slow-cooking principles were combined with the local rice, emphasising the rich flavours, and spices (particularly saffron) for which the area was known, to create ‘Risotto alla Milanese’ Served by itself, or as an accompaniment to other dishes, risotto was discovered to be an excellent way of using the shorter-grained rice, the starchy component of the dry grain mixing with the stock to create a thick, creamy sauce.
Today the dish is served extensively, almost unchanged, in the kitchens and restaurants of the world. Ingredients as varied as lobster, artichokes, truffles, veal, mushrooms, asparagus, pumpkin and almost anything else are paired with this classic dish. If you haven’t embraced the history and elegant simplicity of the risotto in your own kitchen, the dawn of Spring is your perfect opportunity!
Credit “The History of Risotto”, Tristian, Essential Ingredient
If you love italian kitchen, seasonal products, slow food, nature and want to have a culinary experience in Tuscany we will teach you how to best use seasonal, “from farm to table” ingredients mostly coming from the garden and from local farms in a relaxing and creative atmosphere.
“The living Kitchen” is a culinary experience at the sources, you will have the unique opportunity to learn directly from experienced producers about the origin and the value of raw ingredients. You will then move into the kitchen, where local chefs will teach you how to best use and combine them in order to create fabulous “farm to table” recipes. Are you ready to create “hands-on” the perfect Tuscan dinner? Join us on this experience!