Saturday, October 4, 2008

Spano Korizo or "Spanish Risotto"

Despite my ties to France and deeply engrained love of French cuisine, I am a closeted fanatic of Italian food and all things pasta. I am often blown away by the amazing gift of simplicity that Italian cooks possess in the kitchen, highlighting the taste of each ingredient with clarity. The best Italian food to me is rustic, informal, and above all fresh and delicious. I love the spacing of traditional Italian meals consisting of an appetizer course or antipasto, prima course of pasta or noodle dishes, and a finale of meat or fish. I always end up leaving an Italian meal completely stuffed and a little buzzed depending on how many glasses of Chianti and Grappa Amarone I imbibe. Risotto is an Italian classic that is fairly simple though elegant, great as a main course or rich side dish. Risotto is also a very flexible dish, you can add virtually whatever you fancy to the base of rice, onion, garlic, wine, and stock. My father used to make Risotto about three times a week in different ways depending on the ingredients we had at the house. Arborio rice was a staple in our pantry and I vividly remember the massive straw sack imported from Italy sitting in the cupboard next to the Barilla penne and the purple Basmati rice box.

I recently invited a few friends over for a viewing party to watch the first of the presidential debates between Obama and McCain and decided to cook a Greek rice dish that my mother is famous for back in California. I naively used to refer to it as “Spanish Risotto” even though it is traditional Greek because the cooking techniques and end product are so similar to paella and Italian risottos although this dish calls for Long grain rice, not Arborio. The dish is called Spano Korizo, consisting mainly of chopped tomatoes, rice, and tons of fresh spinach, basically a risotto finished with fresh parsley and feta cheese. My friends loved the smoky taste of the toasted rice and the slightly bitter spinach. I served the Spano Korizo with a grilled Italian pork sausage, a watercress and pecorino salad dressed with lemon vinaigrette, and a couple of French cheeses. It was a delicious meal that my friends and I enjoyed tremendously, although we had to eat quickly as to not miss the introductions of the candidates. As always my friends, love food and the company of others!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You will dig my friend who is a meat purveyor in NY. He sells only local meat at couple of farmer's market's around NY. Check out his site. Also make sure you come to Animal next time you are in LA!!

Sarah Hendler xo