We have a little celebration this weekend, so I’m breaking out the celebration food with this new recipe! An Italian-Canadian Life won third in the Ninjamatic’s 2012 Canadian Weblog Awards! YAY! Thanks so much to my readers and supporters, it’s an awesome honour to have the first year out of the gate. I was in amazing company with the other nominees and I know I have a lot of work ahead of me as I improve the blog and continue to document the Italian-Canadian life that I love.
In Italian families, celebrations mean food, lots of food. So I’m serving up an all-food month of blog postings for February. It’s what my readers (and me, let’s be honest), love best. So join the celebration – grab a seat, pull up to the table and dig in! We start the celebration with hubby cooking up his rotolo di pollo recipe, a hand-me-down recipe from his Nonna that he knows by heart. The stuffing is fantastic and the meal itself makes for a great presentation. Of course, I tagged along on the cooking with my camera and notebook in hand so we can finally write this recipe down.
Rotolo di Pollo
1 whole chicken, with liver and heart
meat from 2 sausages
1 cup coarse breadcrumbs
1 cup parmiggiano cheese
1/4 – 1/2 cup of milk
2 red onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/8 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil
Despite January being a post-holiday month, there still seems like there’s a lot to do. Sausage-making is something that is topping the list, but more on that in another post. In this month’s Italian-Canadian Buzz, there’s a focus on a lot of community events, enjoying the snow and arts events celebrating Italian-Canadian culture. I love it!
More after the jump!
My January started off a little rough (everyone has the flu, things stopped working and now it’s -27 degrees Celsius here with the windchill. ugh). So it wasn’t the best month to start of something new, like a resolution. I think resolutions are too hard to keep and not keeping them is just an eventual disappointment. So this year, I have new years themes: what I want the year to be like based on my hopes and theories of what might make this year a bit more enjoyable than the last. One of these themes is to “go easy” on myself. I have a tendency to want to fill everyday, actually every minute, with something productive. Ask me to sit and watch TV, and I’ll do it while making a list in my head of everything else I should be doing or what I’ll be doing next.
It’s tiring. And I’m tired of it. It’s not that I want to do less either, I have a whole bunch of goals I want to reach, but I want to take time to enjoy reaching them and enjoy the time in between “doing stuff.” Maybe it’s the Canadian lifestyle in me and I have to admit what I’ve lost touch with in my Italian blood is “la dolce far niente”, that Italian lifestyle of enjoying the idleness of life.
Dolce Far Niente literally means “sweet doing nothing” = “Delicious idleness.” Sheer indulgent relaxation and blissful laziness, being deliciously idle.
If you’ve ever been to Italy you know just what I’m talking about: stroll along city squares, sitting in a café just because, enjoying the view because you can. And the best part about it is appreciating the fact that doing nothing isn’t bad at all, it’s part of life, probably a necessary part of life. I used to watch my grandfather enjoy it all the time (in his retirement at least), taking in the view of his garden from his patio chair as the day turned to evening.
We need something to snap us out of this icy winter, don’t we? So far this January I’ve learned about, and experienced, ice storms, a polar vortex and frost quakes. I think that’s enough of ice and snow. Around this time of year I also start to miss all the fresh food from the garden and all the produce options from local farmers. I need something fresh and light to brighten up this grey January.
Last year, I shared a recipe for Limoncello, an intense Italian liqueur, that to me embodied everything fresh, bright and exciting about spring. Well, it’s time to get that feeling back, but with a twist. I’ve tried out the same recipe, but with limes. The result, another vivid and crisp flavour that you can serve up as an after-dinner drink or use in desserts (the friends I’ve shared this with agree that well-chilled, it is wonderful over ice cream).
Make sure to pick out the best, shiny limes for this recipe. While you only use the zest of the limes, don’t waste the juice! Use it to make lime-ade (like lemonade), vinaigrette for salads or granita (Italian ice dessert).
12-14 good quality limes
1 litre of 90 proof alcohol
900 grams sugar
2 litres of water
I’ve got to be honest. I’m a little drained from the holidays. Too much to do, too much shopping, too much shovelling and too much illness (did everyone catch the flu?). That and I’m tired of it being dark so early at night and dark when I wake up in the morning. I’ve got the January blues. This weather, and this feeling, calls for some Italian soul cooking. The good filling stuff that keeps you warm and is easy to throw in the oven. That means last weekend, I threw together some baked risotto for dinner.
This baked risotto recipe is a specialty from my grandfather and my aunt. Cheesy and gooey on the inside, crispy on the top and sides (that’s a requirement), this is winter comfort food at its best. If you have some sauce to use up, it’s a great alternative to pasta. And the leftovers, crisped up even more in the toaster oven, are great the next day.
Baked Risotto with Peas
4 cups cooked abrorio or short grain rice
2 cups meat sauce (ground beef or shredded pork and beef are great options)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (add more if you love cheese!)
1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas