09 November 2006

Mamma Mia!

Last month, I received the most wonderful hostess gift ever. A's collaborator from Italy was here on a visit, and he gifted me this generously large wedge of the most wonderful Parmigiano Reggiano... rind and all.... And the timing was so brilliant too. I'd been doing the rounds of assorted supermarkets here for a half decent Parmesan for some bread recipes that I wanted to try out.

So I sat with this block of lovely aromatic, pungent cheese in front of me, and between nibbles tried to figure out what to make with it. After a lot of browsing online, I decided on a simple Cream of Vegetable soup, Parmesan rolls and a light Risotto.

Yes, my 3 year old helped too. She saw me kneading the dough for the Parmesan rolls. After the rolls had risen well, I'd kept them aside before putting them in the oven. Next thing I know, she's telling me how she's cooking like me. That did set the alarm bells ringing. I went to the table, and there she was, busy punching down the rolls for her dear Amma. The bread tasted real good, but it was a tad hard and crusty. Next time I make some, I plan to let it rise on a very high surface. Maybe on top of the refrigerator!

A looked rather skeptical while dinner was cooking. And even he loved the end results. He insisted that since his daughter helped with the bread, it tasted great.... so what if it was a challenge to his teeth.

Nothing beats a really great cheese to make a simple dinner something out of the ordinary.

Thanks, Sandro... this is the best gift ever!

There's still a generous chunk of the cheese sitting tight in my refrigerator. I'm waiting for some more inspiration to strike. Suggestions, anyone??

Parmigiano-Reggiano Rolls
makes 6

2 tsp yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup grated Parmesan (or Parmigiano-Reggiano)

In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Keep aside for 7-10 minutes till it turns foamy. Stir in olive oil.
In a large bowl, mix 1 3/4 cups flour with salt and grated cheese. Stir in yeast mixture.
On a well floured surface, knead the dough adding more of the flour as required till the dough loses its stickiness (about 7-8 minutes) and is smooth and pliable.
Divide dough into 6 equal balls, and transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place to rise till double in volume (1 1/2 hours)
Preaheat oven to 200 deg C.
Bake rolls in the middle of the oven till golden brown.

Notes: A dash of oregano and black pepper gives these rolls a lovely flavour. After dividing dough into rolls, lightly coat each roll with a few drops of olive oil and sprinkle with dried oregano and black pepper.

Cream of Vegetable Soup
serves 4

1/4 cup cabbage (finely chopped)
1/4 cup cauliflower (finely chopped)
1 small carrot (peeled and finely chopped)
1 potato (peeled and finely chopped)
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels (thawed)
1 cup warm milk
2 +1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp white pepper powder
1 cup vegetable stock
2 cups water
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
Salt to taste

Make roux:
Melt 1 tbsp butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour. Keep stirring over low flame ensuring there are no lumps.
When mix starts to bubble, add warm milk, stirring continuously. Simmer for 1 minute.
Add white pepper and keep aside.

Heat remaining butter in saucepan.
Saute onions till onions start to turn transparent.
Add remaining vegetables. Saute for 5 minutes more.
Add stock and simmer for about 5 minutes till vegetables are soft.
Add roux and garlic powder. Mix well.
Add water, if required (a little at a time), to adjust consistency.
Simmer till well combined. Adjust salt to taste.
Sprinkle dried oregano.
Serve hot.

serves 2

1 cup long grained rice
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
1 small red capsicum (deseeded and diced)
1 small green capsicum (deseeded and diced)
1/4 cup frozen peas (thawed)
1 small onion (chopped fine)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp butter (or extra virgin olive oil)
3 cups vegetable broth/stock
2 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings for garnish

Melt butter. (or Heat oil)
Saute onion and garlic till transparent.
Add capsicums, corn and peas and saute till capsicums are slightly soft.
Add rice and saute for one minute. (Make sure rice doesn't burn and stick to the bottom of the pan)
Add 1 cup vegetable broth. Cover and simmer till it's fully absorbed.
Repeat till all broth is used, and rice is fully cooked. Stir in grated cheese.
Serve hot, topped with cheese shavings.

I left out any mention of salt in this recipe. If the vegetable broth/stock is not salty enough for your taste buds, do add some salt with the last addition of broth/stock to the Risotto. This is generally not required.


Anonymous said...

Hi Vidya

I thought Risotto was made with Arborio rice. Does your recipe taste the same as it is made with long grain rice?

Vidya said...

Lakshmi, you're right about that... but here I can't get my hands on arborio.. so i use basmati.. sometimes even japanese rice. only difference is the amount of stock they absorb. taste varies, but one has to make do with what one gets!

Lakshmiammal said...

Love your Parmigiano-Reggiano Rolls. Should be trying this.ALso I have added you in my list.Cheers.

upupup said...

good good food,love love yours! I wait you more!