I remember her arms. The way her biceps contracted and released as she pressed the fresh dough into the steel countertops. The way her fingers delicately pulled at the pasta as it spilled from the silver hand-crank machine, lifting and folding flat strands over the wrist of her left hand. Her thick muscles pushed and pulled and prodded as she worked, showing a kind of strength that I imagined ran much deeper than the physical.
On the last night of my trip to the Amalfi Coast, part of the Italian cooking experience that I’ve written about to you before (here and here), we traded homemade pastas and raviolis for another Italian classic – risotto. “It’s so much about the look and the feel and the pace when it comes to risotto,” Maria said to our translator that night in the kitchen, just minutes before we all gathered around the table for dinner. I watched as she added the arborio rice to hot oil, waiting until it had taken on a distinctive sheen before adding the liquid. Ladle after ladle, the broth disappeared into the sauté pan, creating an intense creaminess as it swirled into the starchy output of the rice. On the last ladle, her sculpted arms lifted the solid saucepan and shook it outward and away from her torso before pulling it back in. It was slow and gentle yet firm at the same time, and the motion of it reminded me of the art of flipping pancakes. Both arts I have yet to master.
I’m sharing a risotto with you here today highlighting some of the tips I learned from Maria – cooking it medium-low and just slow enough in a wide sauté pan from Wolf Gourmet that fits snugly over the burner. Because Wolf Gourmet’s cookware boasts a particularly advanced construction for even heat distribution, they’re ideal for dishes like risotto, where the uniform cooking of each grain of rice contributes to the whole of the dish.
We’re deep into spring now in Portland, where farmers’ market and grocery bins are literally overflowing with the bounty of the earth coming back to life, so I couldn’t resist bringing all of those life cells to the table in this springtime risotto. I use green garlic twice here, unable to get enough of its subtle sweet garlicky flavor, using the leaves to infuse the cooking broth and the chopped bulbous bases to heat through in the melted butter. The dish is piled high with spring vegetables, too – I’ve used fava beans and crisp snap peas here but you could really use any kind of spring vegetable that inspires you– English peas and fresh asparagus would also do well.
To sweeten things just a little more, I’ve partnered with Wolf Gourmet to give away a gorgeous 10-piece set of Wolf Gourmet cookware to one lucky reader.
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below telling me about a dish you fell in love with through traveling, much as I’ve fallen in love with risotto through Maria’s teachings in Italy. Giveaway ends on Saturday, April 30th at 11:59pm – Good luck! Congrats to Kevin on winning the Wolf Gourmet cookware giveaway! Enjoy and happy cooking 🙂
You can find the recipe for this Spring Green Garlic Risotto on Food Notes.
Thanks to Wolf Gourmet for sponsoring this post and also giving me the opportunity to work with and giveaway a gorgeous set of this cookware to one of you lovely readers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.