Monday, October 5, 2009

Italian Sunday - Risotto & Biscotti

My favorite/tastiest part of Sunday:Shocking that a baked cookie would be the high-light for me!! First, a recap of yesterday's yummy eats. It was an unusual eating day for me. I had my usual tea and yogurt for breakfast, but instead of turkey & Swiss on an English muffin for lunch, I had a Cherry Vanilla Bagel from Panera. It was shaped like the breast cancer ribbon:

Tasty, but I still like the asiago cheese bagel best!

SP went out to do a few errands and, being the wonderful person he is, drove out of the way to Michael's to pick up my framed cross-stitch:We hung it in the kitchen.

I wanted a tasty, basked goodie for dessert this week, and after much flipping through cookbooks and browsing online, I decided we should try making biscotti. We've been meaning to make biscotti but somehow never actually get around to it. I chose an Almond Citrus Biscotti recipe.

As we started to gather the ingredients, we realized we both were feeling a bit hungry. I peered into the pantry and found these:

Veggie Straws. SP got these when they were on sale at Costco. This is unusual for me - I try to not eat chip things like this. I considered having some sliced cheese for my snack, but decided on the Veggie Straws instead. Hard to say which is "healthier" - cheese or Veggie Straws! They are tasty - not as salty as most crunchy, chip-like snacks and definitely straw-like with their hollow centers. Like a little kid, I tried peering through the straw and also tried blowing through the straw. The green ones are my least favorite, although to be truthful, if you blindfolded me and gave me a 'taste test' I probably would not be able to tell the difference. I guess it's like M&M's (the green ones really do taste best!).We also snacked on these:There are huge cartons of these in the pantry, courtesy of Costco.

Back to the biscotti. Full disclosure: I was asked to get the score in the Giants game (they won), so I took my Veggie Straws into the living room and checked out the football scores while SP whipped up the biscotti dough.He shaped the dough into 4 logs, brushed them with one beaten egg, and sprinkled the ground almonds on top.The recipe says to bake the logs for 25-30 minutes. We baked them for 25 minutes, not wanting to bake them too thoroughly and make them too hard.When we sliced the logs, the centers were still undone. We probably should have baked them for 30 minutes. You can see the not-quite-cooked-thoroughly centers:However, returning them to the oven for 6 minutes on one side and 7 on the other side baked them thoroughly and crisped them nicely. After placing them on the cooling rack, we tried an end and it was tasty! Lots of citrus flavor, the almonds on top were a nice touch, they were hard like biscotti should be (which means that I have to dunk mine in tea because I have trouble biting into hard things like hard cookies or apples). This recipe is definitely a keeper.While the biscotti finished baking and cooling, we started dinner. Inspired by a risotto photo & recipe at Brown Eyed Baker, I suggested we make it for dinner. SP agreed that it sounded yummy. It's adapted from a Giada recipe. Giada calls hers Dirty Risotto; BEB calls hers Italian Sausage, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Risotto. The adaptation: instead of 2 ounces pancetta and 6 ounces sausage, you use 8 ounces sausage. We used sweet sausage, not spicy.

I chopped the red pepper, mushrooms, and onion while SP browned the sausage and heated the chicken broth.

We took turns stirring the risotto. We don't stir constantly - it doesn't really need constant stirring attention, but it does need patience. While the broth absorbs, we usually do other chores, like feeding the cats or washing dishes. An 'absorbing broth' photo:The recipe says it should take around 30 minutes to add all the broth and for it to be absorbed; we spent almost 50 minutes adding & absorbing! The result:The result: A delicious risotto for dinner with leftovers for later this week. Yum!

After dinner & clean up, we made some tea and settled on the couch for the Steelers game. I confess to eating 3 biscottis during the first quarter. SP also ate 3. We were celebrating the Steelers dominating. At half time we watched The Amazing Race. Unfortunately, our least favorite team managed to squeak in safe for another week. Oh well. Then it was back to the game. Things got tense in the 4th quarter. I like to think that finally breaking out my Steelers socks helped them hold on and win in the 4th quarter. SP says I'm nuts.


  1. that risotto looks yummy - warm and comforting. sadly, i'm too impatient to make it on my own. wonder if it'd work well in the slow-cooker? hmm...

  2. I think it would work - but you might have to saute the veggies & rice in butter and then the wine in a skillet first, then dump the rice, veggies, and broth in the slow cooker. Maybe slow cook on high to make sure the broth absorbs? And maybe stir once or twice?