I don't go too often to restaurants, and certainly I seldom (understatement) go to go to classy restaurants, let alone excellent ones. But sometimes it happens, and if this happens in the right restaurant, I come out of it reconciled with the world, and I bring home with me a good experience and tasty memories.
Some time ago I was invited along with some friends at a restaurant called La Credenza (aka The Cupboard) in San Maurizio Canavese (Turin province) to celebrate an important occasion and, to be honest, I think it's the perfect place for an occasion like that . Not only the location was perfect, but I think that more than once the jaws of the guests has risked the dislocation in amazement of food and wine.
In the long series of dishes, one in particular touched all of us (I'm not authoritative, 'cause I was very courteous in presence of the chef, the restaurant staff and the sommelier, and then I burst into thunderous Oooooooh and photographed everything as soon as they turned their backs), risotto with roasted peppers. Usually I don't abandon myself to the great love I feel for peppers due to digestive problems, but that night I couldn't evade … and fate gave me an amazing dish! In fact, the strong and smoked taste of roasted peppers was made more delicate by risotto, while its taste went perfectly with chopped anchovy and parsley chlorophyll used to garnish the dish. Sublime!
And so, in loving memory of that ecstatic experience, I tried to make it home version, and without having a recipe, so experimenting and going to the taste. The result is a risotto that gathers the same contrasts and the same taste exaltation, but of course different from the one made at the restaurant (which you could also notice from the pictures below: in the top you can see their risotto, at the bottom you can see mine).
But now here it is to you my recipe, loosely inspired by that dream of risotto.
RISOTTO WITH ROASTED PEPPERS
Ingredients (6 servings)
* 1 kg peppers (I used only red peppers, but next time I want to use also yellow ones)
* extra-virgin olive oil
* a clove of garlic
* 600 g carnaroli rice
* half a glass of red wine (I used Barbera wine, from Piemonte)
* 2 l vegetable broth (I prepared it with carrots, onion and celery)
* 6 anchovy filets (to garnish; optional)
* chopped parsley (to garnish; optional)
A few hours before (or even the day before) making risotto, roast peppers on cast iron griddle or in the oven, depending on your habits: the important thing is that the peppers should be evenly burnt. Put them in a plastic bag and make some holes in it; place the bag over a bowl, so that the peppers liquid (you need that) collects in it. Let the pepper cool down a bit and then press the bag, so that the peppers release all their liquid. Now pull them out of the bag and peel them, passing them under running water if necessary. Now blend them it with a mixer until you get a cream; leave it aside (I think that this cream should be amazing spread on toasted bread).
Meanwhile prepare the vegetable broth, cooking in pressure cooker for about 20 minutes from the whistling carrots, celery and onion with at least 2 l of water.
It's time to prepare risotto: in a large frying pan put a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a clove of garlic cut in half to brown; when garlic has released its scent, remove it. Now toast the rice for a few minutes and then simmer with half a glass of red wine. Now add the peppers liquid and stir. When the rice completely absorbed the liquid, add salt and start adding the pepper cream (so that the taste of the peppers soak the rice) and, alternately, vegetable stock, so that the rice is always covered with liquid; taste to check if the risotto requires further addition of salt. Stir constantly and add liquid until the rice is cooked (it should take about 18 to 20 minutes), but keep in mind that the consistency of the risotto should be a bit creamy.
Remove from heat and serve, garnishing the dish with some chopped parsley and anchovy filets, whole or chopped.
I won't say a word about La Credenza's sweets … You could become sick with envy.