“Tomato Risotto” from “Superfood Family Classics”

img_7952Oh my. This is going to be a long month.

Risotto: What’s not to love? Going back through the Cookbook a Month archives, it appears that this family has tested at least 12 different recipes for risotto through the years. Our love of risotto goes back even further, as I distinctly recall the first time I made it, using a recipe from the Chicago Tribune written by the head chef of the Clinton White House.

That’s the FIRST Clinton White House. Yes. I’m dating myself.

But back to the latest test. As anyone who’s made risotto knows, the key to a successful risotto is lashings of butter and cheese. I’m pretty sure that in Jamie Oliver’s earliest books, he called for exactly that. Unfortunately, this one had neither.

That, in a nutshell, is the problem with this risotto.

In fact, as we were discussing it as a family, we started to use air quotes around the word risotto every time we used the word. I think that tells you everything you need to know.

Aside from the obvious lack of butter and cheese, I feel what this “risotto” lacked was any sort of goodness. It didn’t taste horrible, but neither did it taste lovely or joyful. It tasted as if it had been devised by a nutritionist who had to write recipes for someone who was recovering from triple-bypass heart surgery who needs to give up all fat and tasty ingredients.

Alas, we are not recovering from triple-bypass surgery.

I know that Jamie is now studying to be a nutritionist (through private tutors, natch), but I really do think this recipe signals an unhappy way forward for him. Good on him for wanting to make everyone eat better and with more awareness of good nutrition, but what happened to the Joyful Jamie we knew and loved? You know the one: put in a nob of butter here, a few turns of parmesan there, bingo.

This tastes and feels as though the recipe was written by committee. This is not a good thing.

Would we eat it again? Obviously, no. We’ll return to those that call for lashings of butter and cheese. It makes us all happier.


“Tomato Risotto” from “Superfood Family Classics”

6 thoughts on ““Tomato Risotto” from “Superfood Family Classics”

  1. KT says:

    Hmmm. I have issues with Nutritionists- due to the fact the term is not protected and can mean diddly squat!
    Evidently that says more about Mr Oliver’s direction.
    I remain on the fence about this book by the title alone.

    1. Maureen Stapleton says:

      I’m just completely over the whole Superfood/Clean Eating trend. It just seems to take all the joy out of food: cooking it and eating it.

      1. Mark Preval says:

        Thankfully there are thousands of authors out there releasing books aimed at people who actually love food. I just received the new Diana Henry book ‘Simple’ and it’s been making me smile for a few days now. Yes, Diana Henry may be overweight and the clean eating brigade may well hammer her for some of the ingredients that she uses but, I would much rather be a little bit overweight and loving food like she clearly does than being completely obsessed with every single thing that I put into my body

    1. Maureen Stapleton says:

      It depends, but every month we have a discussion about what books are out now or will be coming out in a few months and we pick one. Now that we’ve done it a few years, we tend to return to authors we’ve really liked in the past (we’d always do Nigella Lawson, for example) or any new ones that have piqued our interest.

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