“Asparagus Risotto” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

IMG_6992When I made this dinner, I knew this would be a sure thing. There isn’t often in life where you can be certain that “A Sure Thing” will materialise– see the 1985* movie with John Cusack if you don’t know what I’m talking about– but this is one of those times.

*PLEASE BE PATIENT FOR A MOMENT WHILE I HAVE A PERSONAL FREAK OUT KNOWING THAT THIS FILM– ONE OF MY FAVOURITES– IS 30 YEARS OLD THIS YEAR. OK. I think I”m done.*

We’ve always loved risotto. I’ve been making it since we were first married– it was a recipe from Bill Clinton’s White House, so that tells you how long ago that was. After we moved here in 1999, I made it again (and again and again) when I watched Jamie Oliver do it on his first series, “The Naked Chef.”

I’ve got the method down pat now. Gennaro Contaldo, the star of this video, does a good job of showing people how to best make risotto, if they’ve never done it before. Two of the unique things he did in his version of asparagus risotto were first to cut the asparagus into slivers, and then to take the tips and cut them in half vertically. Excellent tips, both.

This was a sure thing. Everyone loved it. At the end of the video, Gennaro takes a bite and says, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I feel exactly the same way whenever I have risotto. Love it.

If you’d like to see the video yourself, it’s here:

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“Asparagus Risotto” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

“Meatball Sub” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

IMG_7016Maureen (while admiring the sandwiches and plating them up): This is going to be SO GOOD.

Nicholas (12): Can you provide a written guarantee for that?

Maureen: Ha. You’re funny. Go sit down.

[Now sitting at the dinner table, and we’re eating outside on the patio because the weather in London has been spectacular.]

Andrew (15, taking a bite): This. Is. GLORIOUS.

Maureen: See? What did I tell you? I couldn’t agree more.

Nicholas: This is good, but messy to eat.

Maureen: Well, sure, but that’s part of the fun. When I was growing up, meatball subs used to be one of my favourite things to eat. Of course, growing up in Northern New Jersey, they knew how to do both a meatball and a sub, so it made for some good eating.

Tim: I think the meatballs get a little lost, with the cheese and the tomato sauce.

Maureen: Always the contrarian.

Tim: It’s true.

Maureen: I can see why you’d say that, but I disagree. I think the extra sauce and the extra cheese is all part of the experience. I see that you’ve followed Gennaro’s instructions to put the rocket salad in the sandwich. I didn’t do that as I thought that was sacrilege.

Andrew: Remember that great meatball restaurant we went to in New York City last summer?

Maureen: That place was great. What was it called?

Nicholas: It was called The Meatball Shop.

Maureen: Good memory! It does what it says on the tin. I would definitely go back there again, and I would definitely make this again. Do you guys agree?

Boys [in unison]: YES.

Tim: Sure, but maybe with less sauce.

Note: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times this month: it does my head in that they can’t list the recipe, or at least list the ingredients, in the text underneath the video on FoodTube. Oddly, there is a recipe for this on Jamie Oliver’s website, but it’s not the recipe that’s in this video– perhaps there’s more than one version of the meatball sub– so I won’t link to it here.

However, if you’d like to see the original video, it’s here:

“Meatball Sub” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

“Agnello con Piselli Freschi” from “Two Greedy Italians”

For those of you who still haven’t gotten to the food section of Rosetta Stone: Italian, this is known in English as Lamb with Fresh Peas. You could also probably call it just Lamb Stew.

Andrew (11): I’m oing to judge this dish based on the acronym OPEN: Organisation, Presentation, Enjoyment and Nutrition. Here are your scores.

For Organisation: I will give it full marks. Five out of five. It looks very well organised.

For Presentation, I’d give it maybe three out of five. I’m going to be brutally honest, it looks like you took it out of the pot and put it in a bowl.

Maureen: Well, that’s exactly what I did, so I’m not at all surprised it didn’t score well.

Tim: Yes, it’s a stew. That’s what you do with a stew. But I can’t believe that your mother made a stew. As we all know, she hates stew.

Maureen: I really like this one, though. It’s delicious. I’m still not sold on beef stew or any variations thereof, like beef bourguignon, but I would happily have this again.

Continue reading ““Agnello con Piselli Freschi” from “Two Greedy Italians””

“Agnello con Piselli Freschi” from “Two Greedy Italians”