Cold Weather Comfort Food: Risotto
Stay cozy by making these warm winter risottos. One features ham and corn and the other an ode to the Alps, using nutty Alpine cheeses. We always make our risotto with Organic Carnaroli Rice from Abruzzo, Italy and Denver Bone Broth for max flavor.
Ham & Pan-Roasted Corn Risotto
- Bring stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan
- In a large cast iron or nonstick pan melt the butter at medium high heat, add the corn and roast stirring frequently until browned (about 12 minutes), add the rice and and stir to coat with butter and cook another 2-3 minutes to toast rice. Pour in the wine and evaporate off for another minute
- Cook the Risotto in traditional method, adding 1 cup of stock at a time and stir over medium heat until is is incorporated, then add another cup and repeat. Continue until rice is fully cooked and has a rich creamy texture. (If you need additional stock add water to the saucepan when it gets low). This should take a bout 20-25 minutes
- Turn of the heat and fold in the Parmigiano Reggiano along with 1 Tbsp of butter or Olive Oil, add meat or vegetables if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper
- Drizzle with Balsamico for serving
Alpine Cheese Risotto
a few tablespoons Butter or Oil
1 Onion, diced
1 cup Carnaroli Rice
1/4 cup White Wine (optional, you can also increase the broth)
2-3 cups Denver Bone Broth
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 cup Appenzeller, grated
Optional stir-in's: Sautéed Mushrooms, Gorgonzola
- Over medium heat, heat the butter or oil in a large sauce pot.
- Add the onion and saute until transparent.
- Meanwhile, warm the broth in another saucepan.
- Add the rice and stir to combine. Toast the rice in the oil for a few minutes.
- Add the wine and cook until it has evaporated (about 1-2 minutes).
- Add the warmed broth a little about a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Keep the temperature low, at a low simmer.
- Once a 1/2 cup of broth is absorbed, add another until fully cooked, al dente, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Taste, adjust flavor with salt and pepper.
How to Make Tortellini in Brodo
We recently started carrying imported Italian dried tortellini. They're so good! With some broth and Parmigiano, they make a delicious winter meal... brodo. Here's our go-to recipe for Tortellini in Brodo.
Tortellini in Brodo Recipe
- Warm the bone broth to a simmer and add the parmesan rind
- Bring about 2 quarts of well salted water to a boil and add the Tortellini
- Cook the tortellini at a steady boil for 12-13 minutes, reserve at least 1 cup of cooking liquid and strain pasta (they will be undercooked and firm)
- Add about half of the reserved cooking liquid to the broth then add the tortellini
- Simmer for 1-2 minutes and add more of the reserved liquid if needed
- Slowly fold in the grated Parmigiano so it incorporates in to the broth, reserving a couple of tablespoons for serving
- Add salt & pepper to taste and ladle to serving bowls, top with remaining Parmigiano
A Quick Guide To Cheddar
Cheddar first originated in the town of Cheddar in England, but today it can be made anywhere in pretty much any style and still be called a cheddar. We love cheddar and it's so much more than Kraft!
- English Cheddar: English or English-style cheddars tend to be more complex with earthy and nutty flavors, versus just sharp. The traditional method of wrapping wheels in cloth and rubbing with lard or "bandaging" then aging in large round wheels is the truest form of cheddar. Neal's Yard Dairy based in London has helped preserve these classic artisan cheeses and helped producers of cheddar and other English territorial cheeses survive and flourish. We work directly with Neal's Yard to select the very best cheeses seasonally.
- Waxed Cheddars: Many cheddars from areas like Wisconsin, Vermont and Ireland are made in large rectangle blocks and tend to be covered in wax. The wax allows the cheese to be aged for a longer period of time without drying out. Generally, these cheddars are sharper and are either yellow or white in color. They can be aged for as much as 10 years and along with the signature sharpness, they also develop tyrosine crystals for a crunch and a natural sweetness.
- Quebec Extra Vintage is aged for 7 years! Made in the Canadian province that produces the most cheddars, it it sharp.
- Big Mckinley is an English-Style aged cheddar made in California. It skews more towards the nutty, grassy, crunchy side, almost like a gouda, with a hint of sharp acidity. It is aged for a minimum of 1 year.
- Cabot Clothbound is made in Vermont and is a beige color, typical to the state's style. It is crumbly and nutty, with some tang on the finish.
- Irish Cheddar is of course made from the milk of grazing cows in Ireland. It is the traditional wax block-style, sharp, but not as sharp as the Quebec above. Great for mac and cheese.
- Coming soon to the cheese case - the return of one of our favorites Pitchfork Cheddar and the brand new Cornell Clothbound Cheddar!
How to Make Pane Carasau Lasagna
This traditional Sardinian lasagna is made with Pane Carasau flatbread instead of pasta sheets. The result is a soufflé of herbed ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, and mozzarella cheeses. It is so simple and it makes a week-night meal extra special. It also isn't quite as heavy as pasta lasagna, making it perfect for summer.
We made two different versions, one with a simple red sauce and the other with mushrooms and truffle. Which one catches your eye?
PANE CARASAU LASAGNA WITH ABRUZZESE SAUCE
This traditional Sardinian lasagna is made with Pane Carasau flatbread instead of pasta sheets. The result is a soufflé of herbed ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, and mozzarella cheeses. It is so simple; it makes a week-night meal extra special.
- 2 cups whole-milk ricotta
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated (plus more for top)
- 1 teaspoon Michele Ferrante Mixed Herb Culinary Powder
- 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch of sea salt
- 5 Pergamena di Pane Sardinian Parchment Crackers
- 1 bottle (17.6-ounce) Casina Rossa Abruzzese Sugo al Pomodoro
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chiffonade
- Madonna Dell’Olivo - Raro EVOO
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place ricotta in a small bowl, add eggs, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, dried herbs, and garlic; mix well and set aside.
- Place one parchment cracker in the bottom of a square baking dish. Spread evenly with ¼ of the ricotta mixture, cover with
- cup Sugo al Pomodoro. Arrange ¼ of the mozzarella slices over the sauce and top with another parchment cracker. Repeat for 3 more layers. Finish with sauce, mozzarella slices, and sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cheese is hot and melting and slightly browned on top. Remove from the oven, drizzle with Madonna Dell’Olivo - Raro EVOO and garnish with fresh basil. Allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting.
- Cut lasagna into 4 squares and serve with a green salad and a rich red wine.
PANE CARASAU LASAGNA WITH MUSHROOMS AND TRUFFLE
This traditional Sardinian lasagna is made with Pane Carasau flatbread instead of pasta sheets. The result is light and fluffy, laced with ricotta and delicate mushrooms enhanced with rich truffle.
- ~1 pound assorted mushrooms, sliced (we like chestnut but use your favorite)
- 3 tablespoons good quality EVOO like Colli Etruschi
- 1-2 teaspoons Casina Rossa Truffle&Salt, divided
- 2 cups whole-milk ricotta
- 1-2 tablespoons Ciacco White Truffle Oil, divided
- 6 Pergamena di Pane Sardinian Parchment Crackers with Truffle
- 1 tablespoon Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, minced
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Rinse and dry the mushrooms; slice and set aside
- Pour EVOOinto a heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until cooked through and lightly browned on edges (about 15 minutes). Drain any remaining liquid and lightly season with then set aside.
- Place ricotta in a small bowl, add ½ of the mushrooms; season with 1 teaspoon of truffle salt and 1 tablespoon truffle oil, mix well and set aside.
- Place one parchment cracker in the bottom of a square baking dish. Spread evenly with ¼ of the ricotta/mushroom mixture, top with another parchment cracker add another layer of cheese and cracker. Spread with ¾ of the remaining mushrooms, place another cracker on top and repeat with two more layers of ricotta. Spread remaining mushroom mixture on top of the last cracker. There will be two layers of ricotta, with a layer of mushrooms, topped with two more layers of ricotta. Drizzle with truffle oil and sprinkle wth Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until ricotta is hot and melting. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh parsley and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Cut lasagna into 4 or 6 squares and serve with a green salad and a rich red wine.
Our Favorite Balsamic with Summer Tomatoes
Well, here it is... our go-to is Maletti IGP Balsamic Vinegar. This certified balsamic is aged in wine barrels and comes out thick with rich flavors and a delicate finish without the vinegar burn. Flavors of tart cherry and clean acidity make this the closet thing we've found to Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale. Perfect for drizzling over tomatoes, peaches, salads and even vanilla ice cream.
Here's our guide to vinegars for every occasion, can't decide? Stop by and try for yourself!
- Lambrusco Red Wine Vinegar: Full-bodied and complex, we like to use this vinegar in marinades. Simply combine with chopped garlic, salt and pepper and you are set for big flavor.
- Organic Citrus Balsamic Vinegar: This brightly-flavored vinegar is perfect drizzled over salmon, in a summer pasta salad or shaken into a vodka cocktail.
- Sofia Organic White Balsamic Vinegar: This white vinegar is rich, while still being bright and light. Its perfect balance makes it the secret ingredient to making the best salad dressings. It also makes a great sauce for a watermelon dish.
- Organic Aged Balsamic Vinegar - VR Aceti: With very low acidity and a rich, dense texture, the sweetness comes forward with complex flavors of fig and caramel. We like this balsamic with grilled steak or adding a dash of it to a Negroni, props to Stanley Tucci for the idea.
See all vinegars HERE.
How to Choose an Olive Oil
- Colli Etruschi Tuschia DOP Extra Virgin Olive Oil is an award-winning oil that always scores high from graders and guides. This Italian cooperative producer is probably our favorite on the market and always produces great oils. The DOP Tuscia is there reserve oil made with the best crops of the year, it has grassy artichoke notes and a hint of acidity. Drizzle it over any dish that could use some brightening, like a creamy pasta or soup.
- Decemi #51 Slow Food Presidio Olive Oil is a rare Umbrian olive oil that is a Slow Food item, numbered with its year of harvest. With nutty, elegant notes, it's a true stunner with a green peppercorn finish to its grassiness. A bottle for the finest dishes or simply served with fresh bread.
- Les Terroirs de Marrakech Olive Oil comes from Marrakech and is well-balanced, starting with herbal, fruity notes and finishing with a distinct black pepper tickle.
- Philippos Hellenic Goods Organic Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil is of course organic and has low acidity, it is smooth and approachable.
- The Spanish oil we have in the shop, L'Estornell Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a greener hue with fresh vegetal notes and a mild spicy finish. Great for cooking or dressing a salad.
Check out all of our olive oils HERE.