|Risotto alla Putanesca|
February is Heart and Stroke Month...Spread the Word!!!
Healthy eating is one of the most important things you can do to improve your general health. Nutritious, balanced meals and healthy snacks may reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by helping you increase your intake of heart-healthy nutrients, manage your weight, keep your blood pressure down, control your blood sugar levels, and lower your cholesterol. A healthy eating plan may also boost your overall feeling of well-being, giving you more energy and vitality. It may make you look better and feel good about yourself, inside and out.
To keep things interesting, I decided to try David Rocco's Risotto Alla Puttanesca. What’s interesting about this recipe is that while most risottos call for a stock base David mainly uses water assuring us the flavourful ingredients will be enough. David says, "This is a variation on pasta puttanesca that I came up with one day when I had no pasta on hand and I really wanted this sauce. I had a blast making it because I had no idea how it was going to work out. I opened a bottle of wine. I eyeballed the ingredients and connected with the process, tasting as I went...no pressure. It was very dolce vita. Not only did it work out really well, but, for a while, it was my new favorite dish."
One suggestion is to make your own tomato puree. It takes almost no time at all to pop canned or fresh tomatoes in the blender. Instant and flavourful puree boosts the flavour of this dish and will remind you of summer and fields of sun-ripened tomatoes!
This risotto can definitely stand as a meal on its own but is equally delicious with a thick, juicy steak au jus or chicken as an accompaniment. This is an amazing dish (pine nuts taking it over the top) and as I expected this is a new regular in the MTBT household.
**Risotto Alla Putanesca**
based on a recipe by David Rocco from La Dolce Vita Cookbook
4 tablespoons (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Chili pepper flakes
1/2 cup (125 mL) pine nuts, toasted
1 small onion, finely diced
4 anchovies, roughly chopped, or 1 tablespoon (15 mL) anchovy paste
2 to 4 tablespoon (30 to 60 mL) capers, drained
12 black olives, pitted and halved
2 cups (500 mL) Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice
1 cup (250 mL) white wine
2 cups (500 mL) tomato purée
4 to 5 cups (1 to 1.25 L) water or vegetable stock, heated to a simmer
Finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a risotto pan or a saucepan with a large bottom, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, anchovies or anchovy paste, capers, olives and chili pepper flakes and cook gently until the shallots are slightly browned. At this point, add your rice, giving it a good stir. You want the rice to toast a bit and to absorb all the flavors.
Throw in the wine and stir. It will be absorbed quickly. Now add the tomato purée. Again, stir it a bit and keep your eye on it. In a few minutes, the whole thing will get thick as the rice starts to absorb and take on that intense tomato flavor.
Now you have to start adding your liquid. Most risottos call for a flavorful stock. But when I came up with this dish, I didn’t have any on hand and decided to use water. The ingredients were so flavorful that I figured they would be enough, and I was right! So at this stage, if you’re not using vegetable stock, that’s okay; you can feel confident using water. Lower the heat to medium and pour in the water a cup at a time, adding more when it’s absorbed. Add salt as needed. You’ll be doing this for the next 16 to 18 minutes, until the risotto is al dente, not too liquid nor too dry, and creates a bit of un’ onda, or a wave, when you lightly shimmy the pan. You can also taste it to see if it’s as you like it.
Remove it from the heat and add the parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and half of the pine nuts. Use the rest of the pine nuts to garnish each serving.
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