Posts Tagged ‘Rice’

Rice is one of the foods that most cultures around the world have in common.  The difference is the method each prepares or seasons the rice.  I like rice in any “way, shape or form”. Ja!  However, I make it only once or twice a week as opposed to almost every day like my mother used to while I was growing up.  As you can see… I like to mix things up a bit in the kitchen.

Jasmine Rice, a variety native to Thailand, is very aromatic and tastes delicious cooked just plain.  I also like to make it with vegetables as the main dish. It is a satisfying, flavorful and colorful dish.  Jasmine rice will cling but not stick too much due to a lower amount of starch in its grains compared to other varieties (of course when cooked properly).


Jasmine Rice with Vegetables


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 carrot (chopped)

1/2 cup frozen green peas

1/4 cup yellow or white onion (chopped)

2 cups jasmine rice

1/4 tsp saffron threads

1 cup water

1 3/4 cupsvegetable broth

2 tsp kosher salt


1.   Warm up water a bit in microwave.  Place saffron threads in water and allow to bloom.

2.  In a heavy sauce pan or “caldero” heat (medium) extra virgin olive oil and add carrots, onion and green peas.  Sauté for about 3 minutes until onion is translucent.

3.  Add rice and sauté for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add water-saffron mixture, vegetable broth and salt.

4.  Allow water to evaporate and then stir.   Bring heat to low and cover until done.

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This is my version of Arancini, or italian rice croquettes filled with mozzarella.  “Arancini” means small oranges in italian.  Sometimes I have leftover risotto alla milanese and I make these delicious appetizers.


Make Risotto alla Milanese recipe

cubed mozzarella (about 1/2 inch squares)

1 egg (lightly beaten)

cracker meal


1.  Once risotto is cool or at room temperature place about 2 tablespoons of risotto in the palm of your hand and flatten to make a small disk about 2 inches in diameter. Place mozzarella in the middle and cover with mixture to make a ball or an oval.

2.  Roll croquette into beaten egg and then into cracker meal.  Set aside.  Fry immediately or refrigerate until ready to fry.

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Risotto alla Milanese

Happy New Year and Happy Three Kings Day!  Best wishes to you and your loved ones and may 2010 be filled with peace, love and health to all.

My first post of the year is the recipe people ask me for the most:  my version of Risotto alla Milanese.

Risotto is a classic dish from Northern Italy where there are plenty of rice paddies.  What makes risotto different from any other rice dish is the process you have to follow in order to release the starch form the rice to create the creamy texture characteristic of the risotto. In a nutshell, what makes a risotto a risotto is:

1. “tostatura” – in which every grain of rice is coated with a film of fat (butter or olive oil)

2.  Add wine and allow to be absorbed completely by the rice

3.  Gradually add stock (hot) and constantly stir with a wooden spoon in order to release the starch from the rice that creates the creamy texture typical of the risotto.

4.  “mantecatura”-  when rice is “al dente” remove from heat  and add cold butter and cheese ( some recipes don’t include cheese)

Often I hear people comment on “how hard risotto is to make”.  I ask them if they have tried making it and usually the answer is no. Let me assure you that’s a misconception. Making risotto takes time… but it is not hard at all!!!  We are so used to the terms “fast food, fast track, microwaveable”, that meals that take more than 3 steps to prepare seem to us like an eternity and too much work.  I love to make this dish for friends and/or family gatherings.  I prepare and measure all ingredients ahead of time in small bowls and keep my recipe card close at hand so that I don’t miss any steps. After you are done with the procedure of the first 5 ingredients, your guests can help do the stirring until it is time for the finishing touches.

This recipe is the basis for almost every risotto you will make.  I am including variations you can make after you master the basic steps.  Buon appetito!

Risotto Milanese


4 tbsp butter (divided in half)

pinch of saffron threads

1/2 white onion finely chopped (I like vidalia or sweet)

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup of dry white wine

3 cups of chicken stock (approximately) low sodium and organic if you find it

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup grated Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste


1.  Add saffron threads to white wine to allow the saffron to bloom at least an hour before starting to make risotto. If you don’t have an hour, warm the wine to shorten blooming time.  (FYI Saffron is a water soluble spice and will release its color on water soluble liquids only.)

2.  Heat a heavy bottomed deep sauté pan over medium heat.

3.  Add half the butter to the sauté pan and reserve the rest for the end of the recipe.

4.  Add the onion to the hot butter and sauteé over medium heat until translucent.

5.  Add arborio rice and sauté briefly until the hard amylase center of the rice is visible (white dot).

6.  Add white wine/saffron mixture to the pan and cook until most of the wine is absorbed.

7.  Add the chicken stock approximately one cup at a time. Only add enough stock at one time to barely cover rice grains.  Stir slowly until the liquid is mostly absorbed.  Continue adding stock until the rice has reached the desired consistency. Unlike regular rice, the risotto should still have a center that is slightly firm to the tongue.

8.  When rice is almost done, add heavy cream and allow to become absorbed.

9.  Remove pan from heat, add in the remaining butter, parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve immediately.




NOTE:  Add ingredients when you start adding stock.

1.  Pumpkin and green asparagus Risotto:  To the Risotto alla Milanese recipe, add 1/2 cup of diced pumpkin and 1/2 cup of fresh green asparagus cut in 2 inch pieces.  If you wish you can substitute chicken stock for vegetable stock.

2.  Mushroom Risotto:  Add 1/2 cup of porcini mushrooms (soak for an hour in water to reconstitute; discard water)  or other fresh mushrooms.  Substitute chicken stock with beef stock.

3.  Lobster Risotto:  Add 1 cup of fresh lobster tail cut into 2 inch pieces. Substitute chicken stock for seafood or vegetable stock.

Tip:  If cooking for guests, cut and measure ingredients ahead of time and leave them ready in prep bowls ready for cooking time.

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Basic White Rice

Finally!  I’ve been wanting to start my foodie blog for a long time and today I took the time to do it myself.  This is my first post so I want it to be simple and straightforward like the following recipe.

For all of you who always ask me how to make basic white rice…here it goes!

Basic white rice recipe


2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

2 cups of medium or long grain white rice

2 tsp salt

2 3/4 cups water


In a small heavy sauce pan or “caldero” add the first 3 ingredients and stir together over medium heat for about 1 minute.  Add water and cook uncovered until water has evaporated. Bring heat to low, stir and cover until ready for 15-20 minuters. Serves 4 persons.

Buen Provecho!

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