Risotto & Beyond

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Risotto & Beyond by John Coletta, Rizzoli 2018, hardcover 240 pages, $37.50

Each month is gay, each season nice, when eating chicken soup with rice.

Maurice Sendak

Or when eating Risotto with Oysters and Prosecco, or Rice Tart with Prosciutto, or Rice Crespelle with Almonds and Organic Honey.

John Coletta is the founding chef of Quartino in Chicago, where there are four risotto on the menu. But in this book, he dives deep into rice, offering risotto with vegetables, seafood, and meat in familiar Italian flavors like tomato and mozzarella and more wide-ranging flavors like Speck and Fennel, Seafood and Saffron, Leeks and Grana Padano.

And to make sure you get a velvety risotto, he gives guidance on rice–look for thick, short-grained varieties like Vialone Nano–a semifino rice–or another superfino rice that have a creamy exterior and cook to an al dente center. With his encouragement, you’ll move beyond Arborio.

For the “beyond” recipes–soups, salad, tarts, one-dish meals, antipasti and dessert dishes–he recommends one of the 70 varieties of Italian rice. Together, the book’s recipes expand our notion of Italian food beyond pasta. In fact, Italy is Europe’s largest producer of rice and so not surprisingly, there are easily a book’s worth of recipes and techniques for cooking it–from tempting fried rice balls to impressive, layered timbales, to a strawberry rice gelato.

Coletta points out that rice is healthy, and gluten-free, but the real motivator are these recipes.




About Appetite for Books

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