Celebrating My New Cookbook and the Biennale with Risotto Asparagi e Gamberetti

So the planets have aligned – the international art super-extravaganza that is the Venetian Biennale is happening this month AND Weasel got me a Venetian cookbook for my birthday. (Although coincidentally there was an actual alignment too of Jupiter, Mercury and Venus occurring with a Supermoon. Yep, I am a dork.) I love Tessa Kiros’s cookbooks, so was excited to see she’d released one on a city I love so much. As beautiful as her other books, and full of personal connections, I was looking forward to testing out Venezia: Food and Dreams. So we played the game of ‘which of these recipes do I have at least 75% of the ingredients for’?

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The winner was: risotto with asparagus and prawns (well, it was supposed to be scampi, but we don’t have those knocking around in the fridge). Weasel loves risotto and prawns, so we were probably going to get some food in her. And it’s asparagus season, so I can pretend to be all seasonable and knowledgeable just because Sainsbury’s has some on offer with a big ‘seasonal’ sign over it.

I didn’t exactly have all the ingredients, so we can have fun comparing what should have been with what I used. Gives my Husband a nervous laugh too.

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Brodo: The author suggests spending half an hour boiling a carrot, bay leaves and an onion. That sounds like effort, so I go for the stock cube that’s going to taste better than mine anyways (hers is veg broth, but I have only one of those left and use a mix of veg & chicken instead).

Rest of the ingredients: asparagus (I have this, woohoo!), 1/2 a finely chopped onion (went for a whole, what am I going to do with the rest?), olive oil to fry, risotto rice (is expensive, I went for ‘everyday rice’ since it is just a weekday and Weasel isn’t yet a rice connoisseur), 125ml white wine (I have no white wine, but strangely a half bottle of champagne, so a nice big glog of that goes in), 1tbsp cognac (I’m not even sure I know what cognac tastes like, so after a survey of our woefully empty spirits cupboard, I choose a splash of port. Sadly this port seems to have lots of bits. Oops. I don’t tell Husband as I also expect this could be a very expensive port), 1 tbsp butter (I don’t even have this so Flora Light will do), parmesan (again, Grano Padano is going to be sufficient for my weekday family meal me thinks at half the price.) and the best part – 16 langoustines which turn into Sainsbury’s value miniature prawns (not just cheapness, these are the ones Weasel likes).

How to make it: I didn’t actually read those bits. I did do a double take on putting cheese into a fish dish (Italians grimace away), but I’m happy enough that Tessa points out that normally you wouldn’t, but that it’s tasty here. Good enough for me. You fry off the ingredients, (she suggests doing complicated things to the asparagus, but I just took off the woody bits, chopped up the rest and fried it off with the onions) adding the rice and prawns last. Add the stock (sit, stir, wait, stir, add more water, stir, panic, add more, etc. – so your typical risotto) and when the rice is nearly done, turn off the heat and wait to congeal. Stir in cheese.

Weird flaky bits of port with onion and margarine

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Weasel’s verdict? She liked the rice, refused to even try the asparagus (but heehee, she got the flavour in the rice, so small mummy victory) and despite buying the stupid small prawns for her, she picked out every damn one. But she liked it. Not that you could tell from this photo. I think she was crying about the colour of her potential yoghurt. Good times.

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Miffy placemats with champagne – now that’s class

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One comment

  1. Oh, I know that game all too well! I didn’t know others played it too! It sounds delicious, I think I know what I’m cooking for dinner tonight!

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