Musical pairing – Ain’t Too Proud to Beg by The Temptations
CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED: Congratulations to Chris who said, ‘I order risotto out, but don’t really make it at home. Yum! I need to check out her show…sounds wonderful!’
Unpretentious yet sophisticated, easily accessible yet fabulous food you can serve at a dinner party – that is how I would describe Cristina Ferrare’s new book, ‘Big Bowl of Love’. I’m sure you know Cristina, but if you don’t you should check out her cooking show on Oprah’s OWN Network; she not only knows her way around the kitchen but Cristina is a hoot to watch. I laughed out loud during one episode where, after cooking spa food, she sits down at the table and asks the guest chef, ‘Is that all you’re going to serve me of this delicious food?!’ Cristina’s gusto and passion for great food is infectious . . . and great food is exactly what you get on page after beautiful page of satisfying recipes.
Spicy Tuna Tartare served on sliced cucumbers or . . . wait for it . . . served on ruffled potato chips . . . happy potato chip sigh . . . Steak Bruschetta, simple Deviled Eggs with a crunchy twist, Heirloom Tomatoes with Burrata Cheese and Proscuitto and Soba Noodles in Lemon-Ginger Chicken Broth, the book is worth its weight in gold. Then there are dishes like Pappardelle with Bolognese Sauce (which, by the way, she made with Henry Winkler on her show; his eyes rolled to the back of his head . . . I think that means it was good!) and her Chicken Roasted to Perfection is a recipe I started making several years ago after she debuted it on Oprah – I am not kidding when I say this is one of the best roasted chicken recipes I’ve come across. Another plus? The book is filled with stunning photography and styling from the uber-talented White On Rice Couple, Todd & Diane. And don’t miss the last section of the book where you’ll find invaluable recipes for dressings, sauces and salsas – these little gems will take your dishes from really good to glorious!
I have already made Cristina’s Roasted Shrimp with White Beans and Sauteed Baby Roma Tomatoes with Garlic Chips, her White Bean Puree on Grilled Sliced Baguette and her Risotto . . . oh the Risotto. I took Cristina’s suggestion of adding Spring asparagus and peas during the last five minutes of cooking time; perfectly cooked vegetables, still bright green and crisp-tender nestled into a bed of oh-so-creamy, saffron-yellow al dente rice. After a couple of bites The Professor said, ‘Wow, this is the best risotto I’ve ever had!’
KEEPIN’ IT REAL: This is one of those cookbooks I would have purchased on my own but to keep everything up front and above board, I need to state that I received a free review copy of Cristina’s book plus one additional copy to give away to one of you (sorry international friends but limited to US/Canadian Residents only)! Yep, I’m giving away a copy of this fabulous book to one lucky reader – and trust me, this is a book you want in your collection; I want to make every. single. recipe. All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment before midnight EST on Tuesday, April 12th – that’s it!
But here’s how you can earn a few bonus entries:
- Follow @CristinaCooks on Twitter
- ‘Like’ Cristina Ferrare’s Facebook Fan Page
- ‘Like’ Smith Bites on Facebook
Winner will be chosen via a random generator. Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to claim your prize or another winner will be selected – Good Luck!
Big Bowl of Love, Cristina Ferrare
‘Reprinted from Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love © 2011 by Cristina Ferrare. Permission granted from Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.’
- 6-1/2 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought organic, heated through
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- zest from 1 lemon
- Combine the chicken broth and saffron in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
- Heat a stock pot over medium-high heat until warm (about 30 seconds). Add oil, butter, onions and salt. Saute just until the onions turn translucent and are soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of the warm broth and the white wine to cover the rice. Mix well. Bring to a gentle boil over low heat and boil gently until the liquid is almost gone.
- Stir in 3 more cups of broth, stirring about every 3 minutes and simmer until the liquid is absorbed.
- Add the last 1-1/2 cups of broth – ½ cup every 3 to 4 minutes, to keep the rice mixture creamy. When you add the last ½ cup of broth toss in 1 cup of frozen peas and 1-1/2 cups of fresh asparagus, washed, tough ends trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces.
- Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is cooked through to still a bit firm in the center, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and lemon zest and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately.
SMITH BITES NOTE: I made this vegetarian by using ‘Better Than Bouillon Faux Chicken Broth’ – it was sooooo good!