Risotto alla Milanese

This golden risotto is my favourite of all. The delicate taste of the infused saffron mixed with the white wine empowers your senses – it’s the simplicity of these luxurious ingredients that make this dish so special. My kids love this meal and often make requests for this ‘yellow rice’. Risotto is very easy to make, the key is to be totally devoted to your saucepan for 15-20 minutes as you have to stir often. Serve with a salad or boiled spinach with lemon.

When I go to Milan, I usually try to go straight to ‘Antica Trattoria della Pesa’ (Viale Pasubio, 10 20154 Milano, Italy) – this Milanese restaurant leaves me with the fondest Italian food memories, and their risotto Milanese is the best ever, especially served with an osso bucco.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

350 grs arborio or carnaroli rice
1 onion (finely chopped)
1 litre chicken stock
1 dash of saffron threads
40 ml white wine
5 tbsp butter
10 ml olive oil
A handful of chopped parsley

Prepare your pan of boiling chicken stock and add the saffron – mix well – you will get a lovely golden stock.

In a large saucepan, add 2 tbsp of olive oil on a medium heat. Fry the onion until they soften (4 minutes), then add the rice until it is nicely coated with the oil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the wine and let in reduce for 2 minutes. Add the saffron/ chicken stock one ladle at a time – make sure the stock gets well absorbed until you add the other one. This should take you approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked al dente. Stir in the butter, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and chopped parsley (optional). You can also add a few strands of saffron threads.

We just had a great meal at ‘Antica Trattoria della Pesa’.

At ‘Antica Trattoria della Pesa’.

Potato cake with garlic and parsley

The parsley and garlic potato cake is inspired from good times at L’Ami Louis (32 Rue Vertbois, 75003 Paris), one of my favourite restaurants in Paris. L’Ami Louis is legendary for its gargantuan portions of amazing French food served with the finest old Parisian charm. I love going there, especially on Sunday nights, and have a feast. Amongst their superb menu, one dish stands out to my taste, and it’s the galette de pomme de terre (potato cake). This side dish is served with almost anything, topped with a huge amount of parsley and garlic. Pure pleasure.

Ingredients (for 2)

5 large potatoes
6 garlic cloves (sliced fine)
2 handfuls of chopped parsley
1 tbsp butter
8-10 tbsp duck fat
Salt & Pepper

Pre-heat the oven on 180° celsius.

Start frying on a medium heat the sliced potatoes with one tbsp butter for 8 minutes. Pour 8 tbps (or more if you wish and according to your taste) of the duck fat onto the potatoes and continue frying till cooked and golden. You’d be surprised at how fast it cooks with duck fat. Flip potatoes constantly. Add salt. By 20-25 minutes they should be cooked. Put potatoes in a small cake mold and press gently with a potato masher or a large spoon so the potatoes take a good shape. You don’t want to mash the potatoes, just press them. Place in the oven for 5-8 minutes.
Take the potato cake out of the oven, remove from mold and place on a serving plate. Put the chopped parsley and fried garlic on top. Serve immediately.

At L'Ami Louis.