Sunday 22 March 2015

13–Jamie Oliver, Jamie’s Italy – Cooking the Books

Starter:     Baked Mushrooms stuffed with Ricotta

Main:        White Risotto

Dessert:    Vanilla Ice-cream with Olive Oil and Sea Salt

Jamie's Italian

Starter: Baked Mushrooms stuffed with Ricotta

Easiness: 9/10

Taste: 9/10

Make again:9 /10

Cheats & Changes: none


I do like a stuffed mushroom! And this was no exception. Again, you know the flavours are going to work before you begin and it’s one of those things that when you’ve made a few different versions of it, you sort of come up with your own version based on the ingredients you have to hand. Jamie mixed chilli, lemon zest, parmesan, salt and pepper with ricotta, stuffed the mushrooms, sprinkled a little more parmesan on top and baked until bubbling. We used little mushrooms as served as ‘canapés’ and just popped them into our mouths. The recipe is here but you can really do your own version.

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Main: White Risotto with Pesto

Easiness: 6/10

Taste: 8/10

Make again: 7/10 – but I’ll definitely make the pesto again

Cheats & Changes: none

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I came across this recipe whilst looking for a pesto sauce to have with some homemade ravioli – made in the KitchenAid but hand finished as I think the ravioli attachment just looks too clumsy to be worthwhile using it. Much easier to lay one sheet on top of the other and cut around by hand. Whatever you do, don’t bother buying the Kitchen Craft single ravioli cutter – it doesn’t cut and is absolutely useless. You’d be far better buying a ravioli wheel cutter instead.

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Anyway, I digress! I still have a jar of the pesto left, so this seemed the ideal recipe with which to use it. A simple white onion based risotto. The pesto is just blitzing the usual pesto ingredients and altering to you own to your own taste: pine nuts, basil, garlic, parmesan, olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice if you like, salt and pepper. Jamie’s recipe is here, but it really is a question of taste. The risotto is also a very simple combination of onion, celery and garlic, cooked soffrito (slowly until softening but not coloured). The recipe is here, but if you’re used to making your own usual risotto, you can use that. Once they’ve softened, ad the rice and leave for as long as possible before it starts to catch. Pour in wine and leave until it’s a,most bubbled away. Add the stock, ladle by ladle until it’s been absorbed. At the end, remove from the heat and stir in a large knob of butter and grated parmesan. Leave for a couple of minutes with a lid on to go all gooey. Dollop a large spoonful of the pesto on top and serve with toasted pine nuts sprinkled over.

If you’re going to make a risotto, and you have a jar of pesto at the ready, homemade or otherwise, this is really quick, simple and, more importantly, tasty.

Dessert: Vanilla Ice Cream with Olive Oil and Sea Salt

Easiness: 10/10

Taste: 10/10

Make again: 10/10

Cheats & Changes: none

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I think this is the first ‘full house’ 30/30 I’ve given! Jamie himself admits to this being an unusual combination and one you have to try to believe it can work. What you do need to make sure is that all your three ingredients are superb quality. I’m using Carte D’Or vanilla ice-cream, a delicious Abel and Cole extra virgin olive oil and Maldon sea salt. Very, very tasty. No more standard vanilla for us!

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Merlotti x

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