Risotto can be like a wild beast in the kitchen. If you don’t cook it long enough, it’s like eating little rock pellets. If you don’t stir it, you will end up with a gloppy mess. But in reality, risotto is not all that hard to make and make it well. So with that in mind, don’t get hung up on the idea that you have to babysit this pot of rice grains for a while. Besides, you’re cooking with wine…pour yourself a glass.
After the jump you’ll find Nick Stefanelli’s recipe for risotto frutti di mare. It’s a light risotto with the lemon juice, white wine and seafood–perfect for summertime. Keep in mind Stefanelli’s advice that this recipe (as most do) depends on the freshness of the seafood, and don’t get too hung up on what seafood to include in the risotto if something isn’t available at your grocery store. Again, Stefanelli would remind you that “frutti di mare” means “fruits of the sea,” stick with firm fish and shellfish for the risotto and you can’t go wrong. Continue reading →
While being a chef wasn’t in Nick Stefanelli’s original career plans, Italy (and it’s food) was and still is a common thread in the arc of his work. Stefanelli, the executive chef at Bibiana Osteria started out studying fashion design in Milan, when his interests switched over to food. “There is a profound food culture in Italy that’s not going on here,” he says. While “food was always in his life,” Stefanelli switched his focus to becoming a chef after traveling through Italy.
During our conversation, Nick put Italian food in a context that rang true for me. “You can’t put a label on what Italian food is. It’s not just pasta and tomato sauce–it’s a culture, ways of doing things, the knowledge of knowing your grower and the relationships that you build around the cuisine,” says Stefanelli. “I try to reproduce that here, rather than import products. I apply techniques and sauces of Italian cookery to the food that’s available here. If a cuisine stands still, it will fall to the wayside. You need evolution.” Continue reading →
My dinner routine at home can get a little boring every now and then as I rotate between steak and chicken with the occasional pork chop thrown into the mix. So last week I expanded my palate a little and went to a lamb dinner at Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca, where I learned some basics about butchering a lamb (not that I’m trying that at home anytime soon…) and tried some great lamb dishes.
It’s almost time for another DC foodie favorite event, and also one of my favorites. DC’s strong culinary community will be joining forces yet again to fight childhood hunger with Share Our Strength at the 23rd Annual Taste of the Nation.
More than 75 of Washington’s favorite chefs, mixologists, restaurants and wine bars will come together to raise money and awareness for “No Kid Hungry” Share Our Strength’s campaign to end childhood hunger by 2015.
Always billed as a culinary night to remember, buy a ticket and you’ll have the opportunity to try dishes from the capital’s best eateries, participate in a silent auction, and check out a number of live cooking demonstrations. Participating chefs include Haidar Karoum of Estadio/ Proof, Nicholas Stefanelli of Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca, Bryan Voltaggio of VOLT and Nick Sharpe of Ba Bay. Continue reading →