18 February 2010

Risotto Alla Putanesca for Heart and Stroke Month

Risotto alla Putanesca
February is Heart and Stroke Month...Spread the Word!!!

Heart and Stroke Month is the time of year when we Canadians rally together to raise awareness and funds that have an enormous impact on the lives of not just heart and stroke patients, but of all Canadians. Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation is a volunteer-based health charity which leads in their quest to eliminate heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application,  promoting healthy living and advocacy. Heart disease and stroke remains the leading cause of death and disability in Canada. Canadian baby boomers are now moving into their middle years, which is expected to result in a large increase in death and disability due to heart disease and stroke. The United States has the Go Red for Women Campaign where they wear red on February 5th, and from what I have read, I am sure other countries around the world have adopted the same values and set aside February to raise awareness as well.

 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.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. Vall I love Risotto, this look georgeous, look my sweet risotto in my blog! huggs, gloria

  2. This is right up my alley- I make risotto frequently and 3 months ago suffered a heart attack/stroke. Great post!
    xoxo Pattie

  3. Those look like a wonderful treat! sounds really perfect!Will keep following the blog..

  4. Your risotto looks awesome. I still have some tomatoes I canned from last year's garden that would be perfect for this recipe.

  5. I've never tried that version... It looks really tasty!



  6. bring on the hot pepper flakes! what a gorgeous batch of risotto, and what an informative and useful post. you do so much, val, and it's always so thorough and inspirational!

  7. What a fabulous twist on pasta putanesca!

  8. Risotto is such a wonderful treat. This one is packed with amazing flavors. It would make a great winter meal!

  9. Excellent risotto version - I love all the Mediterranean flavors going on here!

  10. You've found my soft spot: risotto. Do you think this version would pair well with lamb?

  11. Sounds wonderful Val. I adore risotto and have been meaning to make it again.

  12. Thank you for raising awareness for such important health issues! You always make the world a better place with your blog - thank you for inspiring us all...

    Your risotto looks heavenly! I can't wait to fix this unique and beautiful recipe!

  13. Yes I am sure thsi would be equally delicious with lamb or pork...but you know me I am a chicken and steak fan all the way:D

  14. You are my kind of gal.. risotto is Always on my mind! "Yeah for the awareness to your this cause!!

  15. I am madly in love with David Rocco and pasta puttanesca - so I am sure I would love this dish!

  16. Mmmm, sounds like comfort food with that little extra blast of flavor.

  17. This is a beautiful alternative to the pasta putanesca! Gorgeous Val!

  18. Things that I love. (1) Risotto. (2) Puttanesca sauce. (3) Not having cardiovascular disease.

    Therefore...I would LOVE this. Looks fantastic.

  19. I love the flavors in this dish!! Sounds super.

  20. Love all the olives and capers in this recipe!

  21. My hubby gave me such a scare earlier this month that we are really trying to cut out on sugars and fat.....sometimes, like yesterday we fail horribly though. This pasta dish looks divine!!!

  22. Sounds delicious. Don't you love it when mouth watering dishes are also good for you?

    Thanks for sharing and promoting Heart & Stroke Foundation.

  23. It looks (and sounds) wonderful...pure Italian!!

  24. Mmm! I love all of the wonderful things in this risotto! Olives, capers, pine nuts...Oh My!

  25. This is a nice rich risotto! Great this time of year.

  26. That's the second really exciting risotto recipe I have seen today. I am craving risotto now :)

  27. Puttanesca is one of our favorites but you've made it even more special with risotto Val.

  28. I love risotto and yours look really really good. I have an award for you, Val. Come and grab it.


  29. I often make pasta Putanesca, but risotto sounds very interesting and more healthy! :)

  30. Mmm, what a wonderful looking risotto! I love pasta putanesca so i would obviously love this!

  31. A puttanesca risotto sounds so amazingly good!


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