Monthly Archives: July 2020

Bastard Risotto

I hate wasting food!

Sometimes, when I’m at the supermarket, I get tempted to buy a chicken from the rotisserie. I’m sure everyone does sometimes. You can eat your fill with a nice salad, make chicken mayo sandwiches with the leftovers and then… there’s the carcass! Instead of throwing it away this can make a lovely broth or stock with minimal effort. Just stick it in a pot with any juices it came with, add roughly chopped celery, carrot, onion and a teaspoon of salt and barely cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1.5- 2 hours. Check for seasoning and if it’s too bland add a chicken stock pot but it should be tasty enough on its own. You can freeze this, make a nice soup or a lovely risotto.

I called this bastard risotto as I added some unlikely oriental flavours to a traditionally Italian recipe. In Italy I’d probably be put in stocks and pelted with tomatoes. But hey, I’m out of saffron!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the stock

1 carcass Roast Chicken

1 medium Onion halved

1 medium Carrot roughly sliced

2 stalks Celery roughly sliced

1 tsp. Salt

1.5 L Water

1 Bayleaf

For the Risotto

1 cup (250g) Arborio or Carnaroli Rice

2 cups (500ml) Stock

1 medium Onion finely chopped

3 sweet thin Spanish Peppers sliced

1 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp Cumin

1 dash Cayenne Pepper

1tbsp EV Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Parmeggiano grated

1tsp Butter

2tbsp Parsley finely chopped

Method:

Put the stock ingredients in a pot, bring to the boil and simmer for one and a half hours or longer. Test for seasoning and strain. This can be prepared beforehand and refrigerated or frozen.

Gently warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a wide shallow pan. Add onion and peppers and sweat till soft, about 10 minutes. Add the rice, stir and toast for a couple of minutes, stir in the spices for a further minute and start adding the stock. When it seems to be getting dry add more stock. After about 16 minutes add butter, cheese and parsley and stir. Check for doneness. It shouldn’t be too dry but nice and creamy

PS. For a more classic risotto you may omit the spices and add a pinch of saffron to the stock

Spaghetti Cuttlefish (sepia, siċċ)

Spaghetti Cuttlefish

What I love about Sicily is that when you go for a stroll by the sea you encounter a bewildering variety of delicious, yet simple, food offerings. Using just a few but fresh and tasty ingredients they combine them in the best ways possible to titillate your senses as you sit by the sea and enjoy its fruits

More known for the Sugo Nero di Sepia, Cuttlefish is also very tasty without the ink. Inspired by the ingenious simplicity of Sicilian cuisine this recipe starts off with the cuttlefish sautéed with garlic, chilli and olive oil, deglazed with white wine and simmered with tomatoes and a touch of capers.

If you want to make Sugo Nero add the ink sacs from the cuttlefish

Ingredients:

Cuttlefish 500g cut in 1cm squares. You can ask fishmonger to clean cuttlefish and save the ink if using. If doing yourself make sure to remove the cartilage and innards

Garlic 2 cloves crushed

Chilli Flakes 1/2 tsp

Olive Oil 1tbsp

White Wine glass

Tomatoes 3 chopped. I used very ripe beef tomatoes but long cherry tomatoes cut in half are good as well

Capers 1tbsp preferably Maltese

Marjoram 1tbsp

Spaghetti or Linguine 500g

Method:

Heat olive oil on medium high heat and add garlic and chilli for 1 minute. Add cuttlefish for about 5 minutes until the translucent bits turn white then add the wine. This might flame a bit don’t panic! Turn down heat add tomatoes and capers and a dash of water. Cover and simmer until tender about 20-30 minutes. If it gets dry add water from pasta, if it’s too liquidy take off lid and turn up heat towards end of cooking. Meanwhile cook spaghetti al dente in lots of well-salted water. Drain and mix in the pan