Traverse City Record-Eagle

Food

January 3, 2013

That's Italian: Visitor makes risotto

Regional influences, ingredients shake up traditional risotto

TRAVERSE CITY — Around a year ago, several men from Italy were on their way to Cherry Capital Airport to catch a flight home to Parma when they noticed the sign for Spaghetti Jim's on South Airport Road.

With a little time to spare, they stopped in for a meal. After, said owner Jim Abfalter, "They just remarked on how our pasta was the best they'd had in America."

The men are a crew sent from a company in Italy to install and work on equipment in a local fruit processing plant. Upon returning again in late December, they stopped back at Spaghetti Jim's — several times, in fact.

One of them, engineer Emanuele Raimondi, loves to cook. He said he learned observing his mother, and enjoys creating meals back home. Staying in a hotel wasn't offering much opportunity for that here, though, and so he asked Abfalter if he might be able to cook at the restaurant sometime.

"I told him to come in about closing time, we'll sit down in the kitchen and have some fun," Abfalter said.

Last week, Raimondi came by one night with the other three men in the crew and whipped up a steaming dish of risotto with porcini mushrooms and sausage.

Abfalter said he was interested to observe and learn about the regional influences in Raimondi's cooking. Parma is known for its Parmigiano Reggiano cheese as well as Prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham).

"The sausage was definitely a new twist on risotto," Abfalter said. "And he said they actually add peas to their Bolognese sauce.

"There are huge regional differences. Nobody in any other region (of Italy) knows how to quite make it like you do. Whichever region you're from, yours is the best."

When the risotto was ready, Raimondi and his co-workers joined Abfalter, his wife, Ann, and the staff around the restaurant's communal kitchen table to enjoy the meal together.

"I like cooking," Raimondi said. "I like also eating."

Mushroom Risotto with Sausage

2 T. olive oil

½ onion, diced

¼ lb. loose Italian sausage

1 ½ c. Arborio rice

½ c. pinot grigio

3 c. chicken broth

3 c. water

4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

3 T. grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese plus more for topping

Chopped Italian parsley for garnish

To reconstitute mushrooms, place them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit at least 20 minutes.

In a saucepan, mix broth and water together and warm over low heat.

In soup pot or Dutch oven, saute onion in olive oil. Add rice and sausage, and continue to cook, stirring, until rice turns translucent. Add wine and stir, cooking until the wine is almost absorbed. Add a cup of the broth/water mixture, stirring until liquid is about half absorbed. Add another cup of liquid, stir until half absorbed, and continue doing this until all of the broth/water is used and the rice is cooked through but not soggy. You don't want it to end up dry, so if needed add additional broth/water. Drain mushrooms and stir into the risotto. Stir in 3 T. grated cheese.

Transfer risotto to serving bowl and top with chopped parsley and more grated cheese. Serve with grated cheese on the table. Makes about 4 servings.

1
Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man Explosions as hot air balloon crashes in Clinton DUI Driver Dragged to Safety by Officer After Walking Onto Busy Freeway Celebrities That We'd Like to Send to the Moon Spectacular lightning storm hits London Malaysian Flight Victim Was South Florida Grad Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Officials Fear MH17 Site Now Tampered by Rebels Lowes employees repair Vietnam vet's wheelchair Widow of Staten Island man who died after NYPD takedown says he was unjustifiably targeted