Giada’s Dirty Risotto

I snagged Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for “Dirty Risotto” from the Food Network website. Up until now, my risotto experimentation has lent itself mostly to vegetarian fare. Not deliberately, but lately that’s what I had been emphasizing and/or working on. Needless to say, these experiments have not been soundly well-received by the manfolk, nor the teen manfolk in the house. So I was intrigued by this recipe, since it has Italian sausage as one of its ingredients. I also liked that it didn’t in fact contain chicken liver, unlike the Dirty Rice of my barbecue restaurant cook days from high school. I followed the recipe closely (even using pancetta, where up to this point I have been substituting bacon for pancetta in every recipe I’ve come across. Sorry, it’s just that I couldn’t find the pancetta in my store and was too unmotivated to ask someone.). The only thing I didn’t include was the fresh Italian parsley (I’ve found my shopping list writing brain blanks out when it sees fresh Italian parsley in a recipe — and many other fresh herbs as well. I don’t recall ever making a conscious decision not to buy it; I don’t even recall ever reading it in the ingredients.).

Anyway, it was well-received. P. raved about it — “better than soup, stew, or whatever!”, and L., after asking “we’re having risotto, and what else???”, had multiple helpings. So thanks, once again, to Giada, for a well-conceived recipe.

An Update

Had some hits and misses this past week… My Pampered Chef pizza stone (less than 3 months old) shattered in the line of duty a week and a half ago. I was making the Pizza Margherita from Maggie Glezer’s Artisan Baking book (which turned out superbly may I add). However, its absence has kind of tied my hands in terms of baking the past several days since I was relying so heavily on my stone. I am thinking that maybe my replacement stone is en route, although who the hell knows. I still have yet to mail the broken one back, an act whose necessity baffles me, since it (a) is shattered and (b) weighs 8 frigging pounds. Can’t I just send Pampered Chef a photo or something?

So, I’ve made the aforementioned (previous post) Dutch Apple Pie — yummy, and a Lemon Meringue Pie (from King Arthur’s Baker’s Companion) — watery, weepy, caustically sweet and fairly unyummy. I made some Whole Wheat bread dough at my Happy Whole Grains class and baked it into bread at home last Saturday. In a quest for non-stone using recipes, I began coming all my books for appropriate recipes, and then I hit another roadblock – I was running dangerously low on yeast. Of course, me being me, this leads to more drama… buying more yeast. Normally I would go to the grocery store and buy more of usual yeast – the 4-ounce jar of Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise for $6.50, but I wanted to try the SAF Instant Yeast (1 pound! Just $5.50!) in the KA catalogue. To anyone else this would be simple enough but it led to weighty decisions regarding shipping prices and the maximizing of value for said shipping prices. You get the picture.

This morning I made (AKA – 2 days ago I started making) the crusty hard rolls from the King Arthur Baking Companion. No stone, and little yeast. Worked great and we’ve been eating them all day. The End (for now).

Waiting On Pie Dough…

I am killing time while I wait for my pie dough to soften. At least I think I am supposed to let it soften. I made it in class on Saturday and it’s much harder than the dough I rolled out that morning, possibly because the other dough was made with shortening and/or more recently. I know I’m supposed to keep it cold while I work with it, but it’s just a solid brick right now. Fun, fun. Anyway, I am making a Dutch Apple Pie for P., with the recipe from class. Ah, there goes the timer — time to try rolling it again.

Focaccia Al Formaggio

This is Mario Batali’s “Cheese Bread from Genoa” from Molto Italiano. I loved the picture in the book and was so compelled to make this, but I have to say, I don’t think he tested this one as written before the book went to the publisher. The portions were all off — 4 cups of flour mixed with 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of olive oil does not come together! I was SOOOOOOO frustrated that I went online to see if it was me or if other people had issues with the recipe. Guess what? It wasn’t me. I ended up tweaking the water amount, but I lost faith in Mario with this one.

Gemelli Pizza Margherita

From Maggie Glezer’s Artisan Baking. I really wish this photographed nearly as well as it looked in person! This was delicious beyond description. I forgot to buy fresh basil that day so it’s without its characteristic basil leaf garnish. I barely had time to take a picture — everyone gobbled it up so fast! It’s a simple pizza — tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella (and normally fresh basil). The only downside is my pizza stone shattered in the middle of baking them (see 4/22 post). I’m looking forward to trying this on the grill this summer with fresh basil from the garden.