To accompany Lebovitz's steak on Saturday, I also made a simple salad, dressed with Food52's Salad Dressing (pg 39). I find it charming that the title is so simple. It's just salad dressing, but it's a damn good one. The dressing is a familiar blend of vinegar, oil, garlic, and dijon mustard. In addition to balsamic vinegar, it calls for white balsamic vinegar, which I didn't even know existed, but found easily at the supermarket. In the opening, they consider Worcestershire sauce to be one of the recipe's nice surprises. Personally, 1/4 teaspoon hardly seems like enough to impact the flavor. I certainly couldn't tell it was in there.
Conclusion: Liked it.
On Sunday, I made Risotto Rosso (pg 347). As long as I add no green components to risotto, it's one of the few meals that I can consistently get Charlie to eat and enjoy without a fight. I've had good luck with mushroom, leek, chestnut, and saffron risottos, so I crossed my fingers and hoped that I could add Food52's version to the list of acceptable foods. Unlike the others, this one stains the rice pinkish with red wine before fattening the grains up with a mixture of beef and chicken broth. Additional delicious ingredients include pancetta (always a good start), shallots, mushrooms, and parmesan.
I was amused to find that the recipe gives preference to Carnaroli rice over arborio. This is the first risotto recipe I've seen that specifically asks for Carnaroli. While living in Italy, I mentioned to an Italian friend that I'd made risotto earlier that week. He asked what kind of rice I used (because these things matter to Italians. They have a lot of food rules.) I said arborio. His jaw dropped, and he quickly set me straight--that around Naples, risotto is ONLY made with Carnaroli rice. I had never heard of Carnaroli, but went straight to the supermarket and bought some. Is it different from arborio? I don't really know. It seems the same to me. Mauro says that arborio gets mushy faster, while Carnaroli maintains its integrity. I choose to believe him, and am now afraid to make risotto with anything else. I brought three boxes back to the US with me, and am carefully rationing them out. I opened my second box for this recipe. Time to start worrying about where I'll get more.
Anyway, back to the meal. Charlie was skeptical at first, because of the color. He asked what the "orange" things were, but once I convinced him it was bacon (which I used in place of pancetta), he cleaned his bowl. For the record, the bacon was not orange. I don't know what he was talking about. My only complaint is that we all wanted seconds, and there was none left.
We ate it before I remembered to take a picture. Oops.
Conclusion: loved it.Charlie approved.