29 July 2011
Posted in FOOD AND WINE
Here the first sack of dried corn in Italy was unloaded, and so Venetian took a great love for it ever since. Also here first fork and cloth serviette was used for elegant dinners, while rest of the world ate with their fingers, wiping them on their clothes. No wonder that Venice’s sophistication encouraged cosmopolitan cuisine. To understand well this wonderful cuisine, you have to understand first its origins. For centuries it was a gateway between Europe and Orient. Visited by many nations such as Arabs, Turks and Indians, Veneto absorbed part of their culture and cooking, an so unique dishes were created. For example, “riso al cavorman” which is Levantine way of cooking castrato with cloves and cinnamon became a prototype for risotto. Another famous dish which combine European and Oriental traditions is “sardelle in saor” a plate of fried sardines placed on a bed of browned onions, with spiced vinegar, pine nuts and raisins. Saor was as well popular food among the sailors, for Venice being an important port was roaming with those.
The vicinity of sea and several lakes make Veneto a land rich in fish and sea food. The famous “baccala” which is dried and salted cod fish was often served during gala dinners. Cooked in many ways, with milk, with potatoes and vegetables, cod fish in its most representative way takes a form of cream prepared with olive oil, garlic and parsley. Although being a borderline between see and mountains, Venetian cuisine gives you also an immense choice of plates prepared with meats, poultry, games and vegetables. The very characteristic plate is “fegato alla veneziana”, a comforting, nutritious dish, consisting of calf’s livers fried with abundance of onions, served with butter fried bread triangles.
However the pillars of the Venetian cuisine are wheat, corn and rice, which grows here particularly well. One of most characteristic dishes of wheat and cereals is polenta, a very old and traditional meal, a thick corn mush. It can be served hot or cold, roasted, sliced end fried, layered with fish, cheeses, meats or vegetables and baked. The best know polenta dish though is Fasoà, made of bean soup enriched with corn flour and pork lard. As said before – rice is one of most important ingredients for Venetian cuisine. By combining together rice, broth, vegetables, meats or sea food some of world’s best known risottos were created. And so, today we have for you a receipt for a very simple risotto, so called “risi e bisi”.
Risi e bisi (peas and bacon risotto)
Rinse peas under running water. Chop the onion, parsley and bacon. Place into a bowl with half the butter, olive oil and fry for a few minutes. Add peas and leave to stew, adding some broth. In another pan bring the broth to boil, add to peas. When boiling again add rice, and leave to cook, stirring frequently.
Five minutes before turning off the flame taste and add salt and pepper at will. Stir in remaining butter and Parmesan cheese… and here you are! A true taste of Venice on your table!