November 12, 1989 |
Most people who find themselves with a taste for risotto probably go out to eat. Fine, but not necessary; risotto is not a dish that can be stirred to perfection only by a native Milanese chef. That's the first part of the good news here. The second part is that, although risotto needs constant supervision in order not to misbehave, a plate of it that is every bit as creamy and tasty as one cooked in some trendy trattoria can be stirred up at home in about 40 minutes, even counting the time it takes to get all the stuff out of the cupboards and chop the shallots.
June 3, 1992 |
If you've never swooned over rice, you've never had risotto. This is a rice dish that's as basic to the cuisine of the Po Valley in Northern Italy as spaghetti is to Calabria and the regions of the south. Its creamy consistency will erase forever the notion that dry, fluffy rice is the only way to go. Risotto is an Italian rice dish that's cooked in butter with stock and often includes various savory foods. It's part technique and part ingredients; always slightly chewy, a bit silken and somewhat soupy.
May 1, 2003 |
"You!" chef Fernand Chambrette growled, pointing in my direction. "Go stand by that risotto and stir!" I had eaten risotto once before, at a friend's home in Turin, Italy, and it was unlike anything I had ever tasted. The rice had been stirred into a wondrous porridge, the grains gradually releasing their starch into slowly ladled stock, creating a creamy sauce scented with white wine and tangy fontina cheese. Each grain remained distinct and plump, yet suspended in satiny richness.
August 6, 1986 |
Risotto is an Old World food quickly gaining favor in these high-tech times. A specialty of northern Italy, risotto is a process of repeatedly boiling rice to produce a chewy texture and a delicious flavor. It is then mixed with vegetables and meats to produce a classy one-dish meal. While the risotto rage might not equal the pasta passion, this rice dish is increasingly showing up in restaurants, cookbooks and homes. It is as versatile as pasta, although preparation takes a little longer.
July 3, 1996 |
Will success spoil Gary's Little Rock Cafe, the best little restaurant downtheshore? Oh, the food is still terrific, creative, reasonably priced and attractively served. It's just that complacency seems to be gnawing at the edges of this year-old Ventnor restaurant. Telephone manners seem frayed, the greeting at the door aloof. Spending 12 minutes in the narrow entrance waiting for an 8 o'clock reservation, clutching a rapidly warming bottle of chardonnay - that's not my idea of a prelude to a fine dining experience.
April 4, 2001 |
It's one thing to relax at a restaurant table and savor a famous chef's signature recipes. It's quite another to pull up a chair while Lidia Bastianich makes spicy shrimp risotto - chatting all the while about ingredients and techniques during a leisurely 90-minute session - and to be on the receiving end when the restaurateur, PBS cooking show host, and author of Lidia's Italian Table (Morrow, $30) dishes up each serving herself. While restaurant dinners remain the foundation of the annual 10-day Book and the Cook Festival, which ended Sunday, the number of chances to observe visiting chef-authors in action multiplied this year.
October 9, 1994 |
Grains are making a comeback in American cooking. These ancient foods of sustenance have been around since the first cooking pot, but modern cooks are rediscovering grains as a healthy, hearty addition to fall and winter menus. Grains are complex carbohydrates, the best kind for getting fiber, B and E vitamins, protein, and essential minerals. They also fill you up, but add little fat to your diet. With the new food pyramid, the government has upped its recommendation from four daily grain servings to six to 11. If you're a busy cook, though, you will want to choose your grains carefully.
June 26, 1996 |
The ambition of every "fancy food" is to grow up to be salsa: a taste sensation that rose from obscurity and went on to outsell ketchup. Thousands of hopefuls are assembled at the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade's Fancy Food Show, now playing at the Pennsylvania Convention Center - everything from gourmet peanut butter-and-jelly spreads to jalapeno chocolates. "Fancy" foods are the sort of edibles one usually finds only at gourmet or gift shops. They appeal to a narrow segment of the population - say, a particular ethnic group or a particular kind of adventurous eater.
May 17, 2013 |
SINCE HIS son was born two years ago, three generations of men in Ernest Jones' family have had a standing Monday lunch date in his Northern Liberties kitchen. It's a way for Jones to spend quality time with his father, Joseph Jones, and son, Ernest Jr., while doing something he loves - cooking. "When somebody enjoys what you made, it's a gratification that goes way beyond the hours you spent preparing" it, said Jones who gravitated to the kitchen as a youngster. His mother is an expert at fried chicken, beef stew and fish and grits.
January 3, 1992 |
For those who like to start off the new year on a good gastronomical note, Upstares at Varalli should do the trick. This may be one of Center City's best-kept restaurant secrets. Varalli's has a lot of things going for it. Most important is its food preparation. Dishes are put together with imagination and an eye to detail. Ingredients generally are top-quality and prices modest. And while the menu features a minimum of dishes - most of which reflect stylized versions of things Italian - the selections offer enough variety to draw you back for subsequent visits.