Gluten free, Rice

Risotto with Orange Juice and Taleggio Cheese

After a long -forced- break from my beloved Books and Crumbs, I’m back on this everyday cooking diary with a new recipe! This time it’s risotto, babe. My true love, my one and only risotto, seasoned with an unexpected mélange of winter and summer flavors.

It’s the beginning of springtime, and the air is filled with the overwhelming perfume of wisteria and mimosa. I wonder how can people possibly say that Venice stinks. It really doesn’t. You should try walking by the gardens of Palazzo Franchetti in these sweet evenings of April. Jasmine, roses, the salty aroma that comes from the lagoon.

This time of year is one of the loveliest for cooking. First of all, there are amazing fresh ingredients to have fun with – asparagus, fresh wild herbs, edible flowers and several firsts of the season. Moreover, I love mixing winter products with the tender flavors of springtime. I think it’s a good way to create a tasty bridge between the two seasons!

My mom gave me this recipe two days ago, and I have to say it has been a great success. I know oranges are winter fruits, but I usually connect their fresh an sour flavor with summer. Taleggio, on the other hand, is a creamy, soft cheese that we use with winter ingredients. Some examples – with Trevisano radicchio, polenta, Porcini mushrooms or sausages.

The combination of fresh orange juice and Taleggio cheese is surprising! Use the orange juice, together with chicken broth, to cook the risotto. Then add the cheese in the final phase of the cooking process, when you stir the risotto – off the fire – to give it its characteristic creamy texture.

Risotto with Orange Juice and Taleggio Cheese (4 servings)

400 gr. rice Arborio or Carnaroli

2 oranges (juice and zest)

1 lt. chicken broth

200 gr. Taleggio cheese

30 gr. Parmesan cheese

40 gr. butter

black pepper

sea salt

 

LET’S DO IT! 

Bring the chicken broth to a boil. In the mean time, melt the butter in a large casserole. When it’s completely melted, add the rice and brown it for 4 minutes.

In the meantime, zest the oranges, then squeeze out the juice. Add half of the zest and half of the orange juice to the rice. Begin to add the hot chicken broth and keep stirring the rice – stirring all the time will give to your risotto a nice, creamy texture.

Alternate orange juice and chicken broth while cooking the risotto, which should cook for about 20 minutes. The rice should remain al dente. 

When the rice is done, add a small piece of butter, the Parmesan cheese and the Taleggio cheese, off the fire. Keep stirring, then add some salt – if necessary – and a generous quantity of freshly grounded black pepper. Add the orange zest on top, to serve.

 

 

Fish, Gluten free, Lactose free

Salmon Fillet with Pumpkin Red Rice, Arugula and Orange Vinaigrette

I’m always looking for ideas to make my lunch less solitary and monotonous. I love mixed salads, but they can become quite boring after a while. So today I’ve decided to lose myself through memories of last September, when I was traveling with my husband in the South of France. Camargue sea salt and wild red rice, salmon fillet, winter vegetables and lunch is ready on your plate! This recipe is light and healthy and it evokes the smell and sound of the ocean during winter. Something I’m obsessed with!

The Camargue is a national park in the South of France. Everyone knows it for its swamp flora, the typical white horses and the flocks of flamingos. There are also enchanting villages where you can wander around. Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, Aigues Mortes and Arles are only some of the places we’ve visited, and they’re all absolutely breathtaking. But I have to admit that I knew Camargue for, let’s say, more “culinary” reasons! Specifically, the sea salt and the red rice, two of the best products in the world.

For this recipe, I serve the red rice like they do in Camargue: as a side dish. Its crunchy texture combines perfectly with the creamy cubes of pumpkin. The sweetness of the salmon contrasts with the bitter flavor of the arugula and the salt flakes. One more touch? The orange juice, which gives freshness and balance to the whole dish. No need to wait now: get ready to cook!

 

Salmon Fillet with Pumpkin Red Rice, Arugula and Orange Vinaigrette (4 servings) 

4 salmon fillet (250 gr. each)

400 gr. pumpkin

320 gr. Camargue red rice

zest and juice of a half orange

Camargue sea salt

black pepper

rosemary

awesome extra virgin olive oil

100 gr. arugula

 

LET’S DO IT! 

Bring to boil water in a big casserole. For 320 gr. of red rice, you’ll need about 1 lt. and a half of water. When it’s boiling, add a tsp. of salt and the red rice. Cook it for 50 minutes. The rice will still be a bit crunchy, but don’t overcook it, otherwise it will lose its peculiar characteristic. In the meantime, cut the pumpkin into small cubes and fry them in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and some rosemary. Let it cook until tender and browned.

For the orange vinaigrette, use the juice of a half orange, some extra virgin olive oil and Camargue sea salt. Beat the mixture until it becomes a bit creamy. If it’s too liquid, simply add some more oil and beat until you have the desired consistency.

When the rice is cooked, drain it and mix it with the pumpkin cubes. Add a bit of oil if the final result is too dry. In the same pan where you’ve browned the pumpkin, cook the salmon fillets for 3 minutes, first on the skin side. Turn the fillets, cover and cook them for 2 more minutes. The interior should remain a bit raw.

Now you’re ready to serve! Put some arugula in a corner and season it simply with salt and oil. Then add the rice with the pumpkin cubes and the salmon fillets. Use the orange vinaigrette on all the elements and enjoy this wonderful mix of flavors!

 

Dessert, Gluten free, Lactose free

Coconut Macaroons with Raspberry Jam Filling for Tea Time

Macarons are difficult to make. Everyone knows it. Therefore I was skeptical when I found this recipe for coconut macarons written by hand in one of my mom’s notebooks. Especially because my mom keeps every recipe she finds attractive or “pretty”, no matter how difficult it is. How pretty can be the Pressed Duck recipe? Well, quite pretty, I’m sure. But is it really possible to make it at home, without the press specially-designed at La Tour d’Argent in the 19th century? I have some doubts. In conclusion she’s an optimist and that’s for sure!

But this time I was wrong, because these coconut macarons are super easy to make and very tasty! I’m sure you’re going to be a hundred per cent satisfied with the result. Moreover, if you’re lactose or gluten intolerant like my friend Paolo, these macarons are the perfect dessert for you, because they don’t contain a drop of milk or any other dairy product. Since they are so light and fancy I have served them for tea time. To exalt the raspberry jam, I have chosen the special blend Black Tea Bulgare by Dammann Frères. This is probably among the best ways to spend a Sunday afternoon in November with your besties. Chit chatting while drinking a cup of tea and eating some cookie: delicious!

Have a look at the amazing Dammann teas and get inspired: www.dammann.fr

 

Coconut Macarons with Raspberry Jam Filling (for about 20 macarons)

2 egg whites

100 gr. granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

50 gr. almond flour

1 pinch sea salt

1 pinch baking soda

200 gr. grated coconut

100 gr. high quality raspberry jam

 

LET’S DO IT! 

First of all, preheat the oven at 150 °C (300°F). Then beat the egg whites while gradually adding the granulated sugar. They should turn into a fluffy and shiny mixture. At this point, gently mix all the other ingredients (not the raspberry jam) into the egg whites, moving your spoon from bottom to top. You will obtain a firm and sticky paste.

Using a teaspoon and your hands, shape about forty little balls the size of a nut and put them on a baking tray with baking paper on it. Cook them for about 10/12 minutes.

Let them cool completely and use some raspberry jam to stick them together. You can now arrange them on a nice dessert tray, with some fresh raspberries and little rose buds. Now you can enjoy the compliments!