Never too hot for risotto!

risotto.jpg…Especially if it’s the Pope’s Risotto. Sure, we’re sweltering here in New York, and it’s likely worse elsewhere. But summer is still a few days away–officially–so before it gets hotter or later, let’s whip up a steaming plate of the risotto that Lidia Bastianich made for Benedict XVI when he visited in April. I can’t help myself–I actually fried baby artichokes last night (actually, they are small adult artichokes, so don’t get queasy) because they were there, at Fairway. Besides, Lidia–who I revere in things culinary as I do the Pope in things churchly–made a risotto with spring vegetables. It’s light, seasonal, and not spicy–all requirements for Benedict’s palate.
The indefatigable New York Times foodie, Kim Severson, wrote about Lidia’s risotto–just one platter from two sumptuous meals she and her gourmand son prepared for the pope and his party during their New York stay. And Severson scored the recipe
If you’re like me, you’ll notice right off that Lidia calls for “ramps” as an ingredient for the pesto flourish, which would qualify as one of those recipe “deal breakers” that Severson wrote about earlier this month in a perceptive piece. But she also offers sensible alternatives in the form of young leeks or chives.
For the backstory to this meeting of pope and chef, Frank Bruni had a column when the story broke, and the NY Daily News also had a nice piece. The indispensible itme, however, is from Ed Levine at Serious Eats…He has a roundup of Lidia’s perosnal story and connection to Rome, as well as all the menus at all the New York papal meals–many of them to be found in Lidia’s Italy, her latest book.
So I’ll try it this week, and let you know how it comes out. Or let me know what I should beware of if you brave the heat in the kitchen first.
PS: Dessert next.

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