Strawberry Risotto

Sorry I haven’t blogged in forever. I have been buried under a boulder of work since I spontaneously got a flight back home to Singapore. Hooooooray! I’ve got many drafts in the blog queue waiting to be edited and completed. But in the meantime, I have to finish three magazines in two weeks, which is humanly possible but terribly exhausting.

I promise to be blogging at least once a day when I’m back in Singapore and sharing a recipe each time, because there will be my Mother heroine who will be cooking feasts on a daily basis. If we’re lucky, my super baker aunt will share her recipes and I will conveniently and lazily document it all. And if we’re even luckier, my grandmother might get behind the stove.

So, anyway, here is very belated recipe for strawberry risotto. It’s definitely still in season, so if you live in Beijing, go buy lots of strawberries!

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I’m guessing it’s strawberry season in Beijing at the moment since carts of the fruit are lining the streets. My Italian friend, Nalis first introduced me to this dish and taught me how to make it. It’s been almost five years since I attempted it and it was good fun!

The version I was making in Treviso involves cream and white wine, but when I told two star Michelin Italian chef, Claudio Sadler that it was one of my favourite dishes and surprisingly few Italians have heard of it. He gave me a recipe of a different version and suggested I add a Chinese twist to it with ground Sichuan peppers for the numbing spicy effect. Also, using red wine as opposed to white and a dash of balsamic vinegar gives a purple risotto instead of pink.

I’m terrible at sharing recipes because I’ve been taught and brought up to taste while I cook. While the French do it au pif, we agak agak—estimating the tastes while cooking comes as second nature at home.

So, here is a really rough idea. Essentially the same rules of cooking risotto applies.

2 (?) cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely minced shallots
1/2 cup strawberries washed and diced
1/2 glass of red wine
1 cup of carnaroli rice

Generous portions of grated Parmesan cheese

Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat, leaving broth at a gentle simmer.

Heat the butter. Add the minced shallots and saute for 1-2 minutes, throw in the rice till and slowly add the broth and stir. Add 1/2 glass of red wine, then the 20% of the diced strawberries and keep stirring for 15mins.

2 mins before it’s finished, put in the rest of the diced strawberries, add a dash of balsamic vinaigrette, parmesan cheese and grate some sichuan pepper corns over it.

Serves 2

**The alternative pink version is to add 1/2 glass of white wine a full cream.

While this dish isn’t native to any region and I suspect is somewhat a modern invention and Italian chefs seem to know it.

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