the appetizer:

Though there are many individual regional cuisines in Italy, northern and southern Italian cuisines are primarily differentiated by the cooking fat and style of pasta commonly used. Northern Italian cuisine (other than on the coast) favors butter, cream, polenta, Mascarpone, Grana Padano, and Parmigiano cheeses, risotto and fresh egg pasta. Southern Italian cuisine tends toward Mozzarella, Caciocavallo and Pecorino cheeses, olive oil and dried pasta. Southern Italian cuisine also makes greater use of the ubiquitous tomato.



Creamy Mushroom Rice (Risotto al Funghi)

1/3 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
4 ounces butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-2/3 cups arborio rice
6 cups beef or chicken stock, de-fatted
Parmesan cheese

Crumble the mushrooms and soak them in warm water for minutes. Drain well and reserve mushroom water.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a stew pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir for about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of stock and stir into rice. Stir often. Strain the mushroom water and add to stew pot, along with the mushrooms. Continue stirring, gradually adding stock, one cup at a time. Risotto should be creamy, and individual rice grains should be slightly al dente. Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve warm.

All About Risotto with more recipes.


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This page modified January 2007

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