Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own


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Vegetarian Risottos – Aubergine and Mushroom + Spinach, Courgette and Mushroom

I absolutely love rice cooked in its many varied forms, paella, sushi, curries, fried rice, you name it. And risotto, of course! It is in fact a staple dish in my usual menu. I love its creaminess and particularly that it is possible to prepare it with virtually anything you have in your fridge and pantry (besides the rice and stock, which I always have in stock and some hard Italian cheeses I always keep in my freezer). It is also an excellent option to entertaining, being quite easy to scale up and prepare larger quantities. There are endless options to adapt it to the seasonal produce availability and to your guests taste: vegetarian, gourmet, etc., you just need to use your imagination and play with ingredients, following the basic preparation that remains basically the same. Besides, who doesn’t love a good risotto?

Today I’m sharing two recipes I cooked at home in two different occasions and that we enjoyed a lot. I thought of presenting them together in the same post to show you what I was talking about above: it’s the same procedure, just changing the variable ingredients. Easy and delicious!

Today, in addition to the “print friendly and pdf button” that you can find at the bottom of each post,  I’m “launching” a new improvement: the recipes are in a printable format, that make even easier to save or print them. I hope you like it!

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Pesto alla Genovese – A Legendary Italian Sauce

I’ve always loved pesto, but I didn’t use to make it at home. I usually ate it at restaurants or (I confess) used jar bought pesto. Although I was totally aware of what I was missing, I don’t know why, I never decided to prepare it at home. That was until a few weeks ago, when I saw a beautiful fragrant bunch of basil at the supermarket and have a pesto epiphany!

I did some research and having no family or friends secrets and tricks, I followed the official recipe approved by the Consorzio del Pesto Genovese (Genovese Pesto Consortium) to begin with. The homemade version turned out to be one of those things in life that once you’ve tried it, you’ll never be able to settle for anything less.

This sauce is so healthy, fresh, fragrant, simple and yet delicious that I’ll keep preparing it and further experiment with it for sure. It’s also very versatile: it can be served with pasta, vegetables, meats and anything else you can imagine.

Apart from the good quality supplies, the key to this recipe is the use of a mortar and pestle. Pesto has to be prepared using these utensils, since a blender will heat the mixture, ruining it. The ideal would be to use a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. I don’t have a marble mortar, but as in any other Catalonian household, I do have a ceramic mortar with its wooden pestle to prepare all-i-oli (Catalonian garlic and olive oil sauce), which I don’t, but inherited the utensils nevertheless.

And… if you happen to be angry or frustrated  about any issue, using the mortar and pestle is a great, cheap and harmless therapy, so prepare your wrist and let’s begin!

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