Risi e bisi…. it’s easy peasy!

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Venetian Rice Dish with Pancetta and Peas

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This is one of those dishes that I have been meaning to get around to cooking for a while….I should have made it before – it is delicious!

Simplicity itself and considering the basic ingredients the result is remarkable. It satisfies the soul and calms the beast. It is awash with flavours.

For 4

60gm butter

3 tbsps olive oil

1 onion peeled and finely chopped

150 gm pancetta or smoky bacon

500gm frozen peas

A handful of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1.5 L of hot chicken or vegetable stock

400 gm arborio rice

50 gm parmesan grated

Good extra virgin oil for drizzling

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt 40 gm of the butter with the oil in a large sauté pan and fry the onion and pancetta for 5 minutes, stirring now and then, Add the peas with the parsley, and 2 ladlefuls of the hot stock. Simmer for 15 minutes – no lid – until the stock has evaporated.

Add the rice and stir gently on a medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour in 500 ml of the stock and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. As soon as the water has been absorbed add more stock, a ladleful at a time. Cook for 20 more minutes until the risotto looks a little like soup and the rice is cooked but still has a bite to it.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and parmesan. Cover with a lid and leave to rest for 3 minutes. Serve in warmed bowls and drizzle on a little olive oil at the table.

Autumnal bliss in a bowl.

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Smoked paprika and pancetta chicken…

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Smoked paprika and pancetta chicken...

Today’s Sunday lunch was so simple I will not bore you with the recipe – even Simon on his simplest of days could sort this one out. Suffice to say that, with the rain dribbling down my windows, food with  an autumnal smokiness was needed – what better ingredients than chorizo and paprika…… I could almost feel the pagan pangs of bonfires and mist laden gatherings coursing through me as I assembled the dish – or maybe it was the the third glass of smoky shiraz… Anyway, I poured a glug or two of olive oil in the cavity of the free range bird, smothered her skin in paprika, then barded her with pancetta strips. She looked devilish. The smells from the oven as she cooked made me want to go out and do druid dances round my chiminea. I resisted.

I served the chicken with quartered roasted potatoes, to which I added a dozen slices of chorizo for the last ten minutes. Delightful. I also steamed some spinach in my wok. Then squeeze drained it – popped it back in the wok with a knob of butter and bags of black pepper for about two minutes on a high heat to let it meld together.

Everyone was a winner – even the cat got a slice or two of the paprika blessed bird. She is snoozing now…and I am going shortly to join her!

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Dreamy creamy zucchini pancetta pasta…

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Dreamy creamy zucchini pancetta pasta...

One of those cold damp nights that needed a solidly substantial yet velvety pasta dish to nourish the nerves, soften the stress and warm the marrow. I decided to cobble together two of my favourite pasta dishes – both on this blog – and it worked perfectly. The creamy tomato pasta with the lardons and courgette pasta. But instead of lardons I had some wonderfully fragrant strips of pancetta. Washed down with a rugged French wine this was a delight.

Ingredients

300 gm of rigatoni pasta – soaks up the creamy sauce
12 baby plum toms
I clove garlic finely chopped
8 strips of pancetta
1 courgette / zucchini cubed
100 ml of cream
Tbsp rosemary
Sprinkle of dried crushed chilli
Olive oil
Black pepper

Pan fry the courgette in the olive oil for about 5 minutes then add the garlic. Continue til the courgette begins to brown then add the tomatoes. Add the chilli and the rosemary.

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Just to warn you at this point – the aroma is stunning!

Put the pasta on- takes 11 minutes normally.

Fry the courgette mix gently for around 8 minutes then add the pancetta. Once the pancetta starts to crisp, about two minutes, add the cream. After a minute add a grind of black pepper.

Drain the pasta and spoon over the creamy mixture.

A super autumnal dish.

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Oscar would be Wild about this Wild Garlic Pesto…

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Just had tripoline pasta with the most amazing wild garlic pesto made by a very good friend of mine who excels in this stuff.. recipe to follow as soon as I can get her to share it! Soon I hope! Added a little pan fried pancetta – not that it needed it – but I love the stuff. The flavours are mouth hummingly filling,,,gorgeous…tis sex in a bowl….mmmmmmm!!!! Image