The more I learn about southern Italian cuisine the bigger the differences I see between that and northern cuisine. And, to be honest, nothing surprises me. I was recently taught this recipe by a good friend of mine from Naples and it’s already become one of my go-to favourites. As the name suggests―maccheroni in Italian is used to refer to pasta in general rather than a specific kind―this can me made with any type of pasta. In fact, it’s often used as a way of using up leftovers. I already knew that you could make delicious arancini with leftover risotto to avoid re-heating (and therefore overcooking and ruining) the rice. But this recipe is the same with pasta. Alternatively, as with this recipe, you can cook the pasta specially and just enjoy eating the dish for its own sake.
Located only 27km as the crow flies from Venice, Treviso has always lived in the shadow of the campanile of San Marco. For most of its life, that was a good thing. Its proximity to the capital of the great Venetian Republic meant that the government ringed it with a great defensive wall and moat which made the city impregnable. The wall is still there today and can be walked almost in its entirety.
This article is about the Veneto.
It’s been four months since I wrote my article about my return to my poor neglected Venice, and I’m happy to report that since then I’ve been a regular visitor. And it’s been really interesting to see the way in which the mood of the city changes with the seasons as the light moves from watery winter to sandy-coloured spring. This weekend was noticeably warmer than my last visit, back in February, and some intrepid tourists had even begun stripping down to t-shirts, even though my Italian blood was more comfortable with a t-shirt, shirt, pullover, and jacket!
This recipe is from Veneto.
This recipe complements my previous post on Radicchio tardivo di Treviso. It’s a very common way of cooking it in Italy. The risotto takes on a lovely pinkish red colour thanks to the radicchio leaves and the gorgonzola adds a little depth of creamy flavour at the end.
Radicchio tardivo di Treviso is an extraordinary looking vegetable, rather like a red and white octopus. Once cut, it is a kaleidoscope of red and white leaves which are extraordinarily beautiful.
Grown in the provinces of Treviso and Venice, this plant now has protected name status from the European Union. It differs from other radicchio not only in appearance but also in its mild taste, which is not bitter at all.
I love risotto and make it at least once a week. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it’s one of my specialities. I serve it with the rice perfectly al dente, in the northern Italian all’onda style, which means with plenty of liquid. I hate leftover risotto. It’s almost impossible to reheat without it turning into a stodgy mess and if you try adding more stock it just overcooks the rice. However, if you do have leftover risotto, all is not lost as you can turn it into these amazing arancini di riso. Arancini means ‘little oranges’ and like the real oranges, they originated as street food in in Sicily. They consist of balls of cooked rice, which are then coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. The deep-fried breadcrumbs turn almost orange, hence the name.