Saturday, June 19, 2010

Risotto con Peperoni

I wasn't satisfied with the results of my recent cooking - there were a few failures and I wanted to get my groove back.  For inspiration I read Luciana Sampogna's cookbook "Light of Lucia" this morning.  Mr Curious and I went to her cooking class a few months ago (which I was meant to blog about - hope to get there one day) and it was so much fun, and of course the food was delicious!

The recipe for Risotto con Peperoni (Risotto with Capsicums).  Luciana said "this is one of the best risotto diskes I have ever created", a ringing endorsement indeed.

It was a happy coincidence that the Northside Product Market was on this morning, so I was able to get some nice capsicums and cheese.  Although my memory failed me and I bought hard goat's cheese when the recipe asked for soft goat's cheese so I had to buy some from Thomas Dux afterwards.

I'm not sure if there is any issue with reproducing the entire recipe from the book so I will talk through the cooking process instead.

The start had nothing to do with rice or capsicums - it was stock.  Luciana said during the cooking course that some people pay a lot of attention to ingredients like wine but neglect the stock.  So it was my plan to make some fresh chicken stock for the risotto.

In the pot were chicken carcass, carrots, onoins, celery stalks, the rind from the parmesan cheese (Luciana's suggestion), bay leaves, peppercorn and sea salt.  Two hours of simmering and voilà! The stock was ready.


It was handy to make the stock in the same cooking session because the stock needs to be hot for the risotto.

The next step was to roast the capsicums.  I popped them in the oven until the skins have blackened.





After they cooled I peeled the skin off, removed the seeds and tear the capsicums into strips.  I didn't take a photo because it was very messy.

Then it was time to heat up the saucepan.  First in the pan were extra virgin olive oil and a large chuck of butter to cook the chopped onion.


The rice went in next.  Luciana recommended carnaroli rice instead of arborio for first timers as "it has a perfect consistency".


When the rice became translucent I poured in half a bottle of dry white wine.  It was a cheap and cheery $9 bottle from BWS.  I stirred the mixture until the alcohol evaporated.


After that I added the capsicums and the stock absorption/stirring phase began.  I poured in the stock a ladle at and time and stirred until the liquid was absorbed.  Mr Curious helped up with the stirring.


Still stirring 20 minutes later.


After that point I taste tested the rice after each ladle to check the texture of the rice.  When it was close to ready I removed the saucepan off the heat and added one more ladle of stock.

The final step was to stir in a bit more butter, shaved parmesan cheese (buffalo milk parmesan from the market) and soft goat's cheese (Président brand goat's milk cheese log).


And here was my dinner:


The recipe was definitely a winner!  The risotto was smooth, moist, and the cheese did not feel heavy.  A perfect dish for winter.  TLG polished off his serve too.

As the oven was already turned on to roast the capsicums, I asked Mr Curious to roast some pumpkin as well.  He searched the internet and found that if he coats the pumpkin with flour they will be crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside


They were also delicious. Instead of crunchy, the outside of the pumpkin pieces were "caramelised". It was a worthy side dish to the risotto.

We washed down the food with the rest of the white wine and it was one of the best meals I've had for a while. Thanks Luciana!

You can read more about her cookbook Light of Lucia here.  Do yourself a favour and check out the video at the end of the page where Luicana explains why god plays a part in pasta making!


  1. This looks great! I have some seafood for a risotto tomorrow night. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Great work Ms Curious! I especially liked how you made your own stock. I love making risotto too and will have a go at this recipe next week. Thanks for sharing.


Thank you for your lovely message <3


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