By Nancy Caivano
Hello, and welcome to the February edition of Pasta, Risotto and You! This month's article will feature some warming winter dishes.
In this season of the year, when the weather turns cold and we spend more time at home (at least in the places where it DOES get cold!), we find ourselves cooking different kinds of foods. In the summer we crave grilled meats and salads, lighter fare that goes better with the hotter weather. In the winter, we want rich, simmering soups and stews, warm, fresh-baked breads, and other stick-to-your-ribs foods. Most of these kinds of foods fall under the heading of comfort foods. It's a wonderful feeling to come home to a warm house, after a long day of work and time out in the cold, and sit down to a hot, savory meal. The comforting emotions, as well as the fabulous taste, make us feel great. I love winter cooking. Soups and stews that simmer all day fill the house with a fabulous aroma that is almost as good as the food itself.
This is true for pasta and risotto also. During the warmer months, we do simpler dishes with lighter ingredients. In the cold months, we want rich sauces, hearty baked dishes and lots of them. So, for this month's recipes, I have included a variety of dishes that are perfect for your table and for your soul.
For the pastas, first up we have Pasta with Veal Bolognese. This is a twist on the classic Bolognese, in that it uses all veal instead of a combination of meats. The veal gives the sauce a certain delicacy, while maintaining all the robust flavors we love it for. Next we have Lasagne with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. Sausage and Broccoli Rabe are one of the best-combined flavors in Italian cooking. Here they are combined in a rich lasagne, with both tomato and béchamel sauces, and 3 different kinds of cheese. Lastly we have Homemade Tortellini in Broth. These are simply fabulous. The filling is made of many different, savory flavors, and serving them in a bowl of steaming broth is the best way to highlight them. You will never use frozen again after trying this!!
In the risotto section, we have Risotto with Roasted Zucchini and Pan Fried Steak. This is a superb dish. A regular risotto is made using aromatic vegetables and golden roasted zucchini, then topped with slices of pan-fried steak and a rich red wine sauce. It is a fabulous combination of flavors and textures. Next up we have Risotto with Mushroom Pesto. This unusual pesto is very hearty and flavorful. Both white and Portobello mushrooms are combined with garlic, olive oil, Parmesan and pine nuts then stirred into a risotto for a rich, flavorful dish. Last up we have Risotto with Sausage and Two Tomatoes. Both fresh and dried tomatoes flavor this dish, along with savory Italian sausage, garlic, Romano cheese and crushed red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
I hope that you enjoy this month's recipes and enjoy this lovely cold weather as much as I do. Keep warm and eat well!!
See you next month,
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