“No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing” -Julia Child
This week’s recipe is… Pumpkin Risotto!
This week we have something special. Our weekly recipe of Pumpkin Risotto is joined by a fancy and delicious appetizer: Brushetta! This appetizer is a mixture of ripe tomatoes, garlic cloves, fresh basil leaves, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Once prepared, add toss them on top of crackers or toasted baguettes, and ta da! It’s ready to eat. Now, you might be like me and be wondering, “Whats a baguette?” A baguette is a long thin loaf of french bread. It’s also sometimes called a French stick, French loaf, or French bread.
Now that we’ve talked about our yummy Bruschetta, we’re ready for the main course! Pumpkin Risotto is a special version of classic Italian slow-cooked rice dishes. It’s special rice (Carnaroli rice) releases some of its starch into the broth, which creates it’s own unique, delicious sauce. But who came up with Pumpkin Risotto? Where did it come from? And why does it taste so good? All that is coming up next, when we dive into the history of Pumpkin Risotto!
PUMPKIN RISOTTO HISTORY
Like many of our other dishes, our story begins in the delightful country of Italy. And similar to other cuisines, the history is clouded with uncertainty, and many opinions. Even so, there are some things we do know for sure about our perfectly pleasant Pumpkin Risotto. Many have come to the conclusion that rice was introduced to Italy by the Arabs in the Middle Ages. Once introduced to Italy, farmers found it to be perfectly suited to grow in the humid Mediterranean. As rice grew in popularity it eventually made its way to an area known for its use of slow-cooking.
That region is known as Milan. Once rice and slow cooking were combined Risotto and other classic Italian slow-cooked rice dishes emerged. But who was the first person to slow-cook rice? Unfortunately the question remains unanswered to this day. There is a recipe that contains the word “risoto” dating back to 1854 written by Giovanni Vialardi, assistant chief chef to kings, but whether or not he was the first one to cook it is uncertain.
Now for our last question… why does it taste so good? The starchy component of the dry grain mixes with the stock which creates a thick creamy sauce. This sauce, when mixed with other spices, is what makes this recipe so versatile. All sorts of ingredients can be added such as scallops, lobster, sausage, mushrooms, asparagus, and even duck. The list goes on and on as there are so many ways to cook Risotto.
Question: Which part of the meal is Risotto usually served? (E.g. First, second, third…)
Answer: Primo (first course)! Risotto is usually served on its own before the main course!
Question: Why are baguettes (french bread) so long?
Answer: According to a legend, it was Napoleon who requested for the baguette to have a long shape. This made it easier for soldiers to carry the bread.
Junior Chef Stars – The Premiere Cooking School for Kids and Teens
We hope you enjoyed this week’s recipe! November has arrived! Now is a great time to give your child the gift of a November or December Cooking Class!
To see a list of our upcoming classes, click here!