How to make an edible “cheese basket” in five minutes.


Many years ago I went to a fancy restaurant in my home town and they served us an edible parmesan basked filled with a scrumptious risotto. I can recall precisely the risotto I ate that day, a delicious white wine risotto, but mostly I remember how fancy looked to me that handmade edible “container”, so elegant and simple at the same time. Not to mention that that crispy parmesan basket melted slowly with the heat of the food contained in it, giving to the risotto an extraordinary taste. So, of course I had to try to make that delicatessen at home and surprisingly I found out that it is not tricky nor difficult to be done! All you need is parmesan cheese: just bake one cup of finely grated parmesan cheese for few minutes, and the magic is done! You can make this container to serve any kind of food, like a pasta, risotto, chilly or whatever you like, and the result will be astonishing and delicious! Indeed, as I already told you, once you pour a hot food in the cheese basket, it melts the bottom, so the food will get all the flavor of the cheese…  Considering we are less than a month away from Valentine’s day,  why don’t planning to surprise your significant half with a romantic dinner with such an easy – but impressive- first course?  

INGREDIENTS FOR 1 EDIBLE BASKET

1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

1 serving white wine risotto

DIRECTIONS

In case you wish to fill your edible basket with white wine risotto, consider that the risotto needs to be prepared at the exact time you want to eat it. Follow the recipe here and to make sure to cook it at perfection, read these precious tips: “the ten golden rules for a perfect risotto“.

About the basket (you can easily bake at least two baskets at the time), you can  even decide to prepare it ahead of time: it will keep  its shape better if totally cooled off. Don’t worry: your basket will quickly get warm once you pour in it a hot entrée.

Cut a 9″ by 9” piece of parchment paper and arrange it in an oven sheet. Spread evenly 1 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 360 F. (180 C.) for about 5 minutes or until  it starts bubbling.

Take it out of the oven and wait a few minutes until it starts solidify.  At this point place it on top of a small cup, to help it get its shape.  I used four glasses for each corner, to give the cup a nice shape.

Once the basket is completely cooled off, flip it and place it in a plate… 

Fill It with an entrée of your choice and… Enjoy! And don’t forget to eat the basket as well ;-)!

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

TIPS:  – If by  chance your first attempt would fail, do not despair:  keep the pieces of baked parmesan aside to decorate the top of your entrée once served.

– Hypothetically you could use any kind of grated cheese for the basket, like Pecorino or Romano cheese.

– Once flipped, the basket tends to open up: do not worry, it will look nice once filled with food.

– About the filling, just remember to pick an entrée that would taste fine with the aftertaste of cheese. For instance, I would avoid any sea food entrée.

– I tried to panfry the parmesan instead of baking it, but unfortunately the melted cheese wouldn’t keep the shape.

 

White Wine risotto (Risotto al vino bianco): simple and sophisticated!

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By now you probably already know that “Risotto” is one of my favorite dishes and, unusual for an Italian, that I prefer it to pasta. However, risotto requires a more complex cooking process to prepare, so many people are discouraged by this and simply give up on the idea of trying to cook it.

Well, this white wine risotto is extremely simple and quick to prepare (about 25 minutes)- perfect for beginners. It is light and tasty, and equally suited for a family meal or an important dinner.

Follow the ten golden rules for the perfect risotto and the recipe below and you will amazed by the excellent results you’ll get.

INGREDIENTS for 4 servings

2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice – 400 gr. riso Carnaroli o Arborio o Vialone Nano

1 white onion, medium sized, or 2 small – 1 cipolla media o due piccole

2 Tbs olive oil – 2 cucchiai d’olio d’oliva

5 tbs. Parmesan cheese – 30 gr. circa parmigiano

16 oz or 2 cups good quality white wine – 500 ml di vino bianco di buona qualita’

about 64 oz hot broth (better if homemade) – 1 lt e 1/2 di brodo bollente

1 Tbs butter or mascarpone cheese for the “mantecatura” -un cucchiaio di burro o mascarpone per la mantecatura

salt to taste – sale quanto basta

pepper to taste – pepe quanto basta

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the broth by bringing it to a boil and then keeping it at low heat. (You will add the broth – just a little a time- to the rice in later steps).

Chop the onion and brown it in olive oil at medium heat in a pan big enough to cook the risotto.

Once the onion becomes golden, raise the heat, add the rice, stir the mix, and allow the rice to toast for a few minutes. (With the word “toast” I mean cook the rice and the onion together without any kind of liquid for few minutes- without burning it!)

Next, you will begin the process of gradually cooking the liquids into the rice. It is very important to add the liquids, just a little at a time, and wait until it is thoroughly absorbed before adding more.

So turn the heat back down to medium, add a bit of the white wine, and set your kitchen timer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally as the wine cooks in. Continue to add wine a little at a time until it is all absorbed.

Once all the white wine is incorporated, start adding the hot broth, a ladle at a time. Again, remember to wait until the liquid is thoroughly absorbed each time before adding more, and stir occasionally. Add salt, as desired.

When there are just three minutes left on the timer, switch off the heat, add another ladle of broth, the butter (or mascarpone cheese), and the parmesan to the risotto. Stir ingredients together and then cover the pot with a lid until the end of the 20 minutes, for the MANTECATURA phase. This process will make your risotto creamy and dense, in other words “all’onda”.

At the end of the twenty minutes, serve your risotto still warm, and suggest your guests sprinkle some black pepper on the top of it, if they like.

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LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do, share it, like it, leave a comment, and help support my blog!

Much thanks,

Silvia