I also have olive oil and balsamic vinegar in my store cupboard (always) and use them frequently in my cooking (see my lovely fresh Brushetta as one example, below). I was recently asked to try out a recipe using Italian foods from a region within Italy covering the provinces of Bologna, Ferrara, Mantova, Modena, Reggio Emilia, Rovigo and the Park of Po Delta, all known as Quadrilatero deli'UNESCO. What a feast for the palate it turned out to be!
The items originating from these provinces are so versatile, as well as the Bruschetta above, the olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese was used on a homemade sweet chilli and salmon pizza I made last weekend to make both the dough and to add flavour to the finished dish.
The Quadrilatero deli'UNESCO region is being promoted by Rediscover Italy on Facebook who sent me some of the towns produce to try at home in my kitchen. The suitcase of items I received came with a lovely recipe for a pumpkin risotto and although not usually a fan of trying the recipes sent with such items, this one seemed too good to miss.
I made the risotto above, and it was fabulous...you can find the recipe after the page break...the Brushetta and pizza recipes are for another day...worth the wait though.
400g Risotto rice (I used Ca Veechia and it was the best I have ever cooked with)
Large knob butter
1 small pumpkin
Glug of white wine
salt and black pepper
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Modena Balsamic vinegar (to finish)
1. Begin by peeling and chopping the pumpkin. Cut it into cubes and put in a pan, cover with boiling water from the kettle, add half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Cook on a moderate heat until tender. Use a stick hand blender to blend the pumpkin into a puree.
2. While the pumpkin is cooking start the risotto. Melt the knob of butter in a heavy based pan over a moderate heat add the chopped shallot and lower the heat and sweat the shallot in the butter.
3. Add the risotto rice, and glaze it so it is coated in the buttery shallot mixture.
4. Add a glug of white wine to the rice. Start to add ladles of the golden pumpkin puree, one ladle at a time until the rice absorbs it all and then add another. Keep adding the pumpkin puree until the rice is cooked. You will need to stay with the risotto to keep an eye on it.
5. Once the rice is cooked and the pumpkin puree all absorbed add a big handful of the grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Stir this through the risotto.
6. To serve, add ladles of the cooked risotto to a warm plate. Finish with the Modena Balsamic vinegar. (you can turn it into a sticky syrup by warming it on the stove in a pan, I used it straight form the bottle in Zorro style!)