Jewish Community of Venice was one of the most stable and significant since the 14th century. Several migratory flows took place between the end of the 15th and the early 16th century, creating an heterogeneous and multi-ethnic community. Jewish-Venetian cuisine was created in such a diversified environment, characterised by the melting of different traditions and flavors and distinctive features at the same time: the Italian, Ashkenazi and Sephardi ones.

Thanks to tradings between Levantine Jewish merchants and Eastern Territories, many new products as dried fruits and spices were introduced to Venice. “Riso all’ua” (risotto with raisins), still very popular in Venice, can be considered a result of the combination between those different cultures living in the oldest Jewish ghetto. Cooking risotto is also a good chance to practise and improve your cooking skills.

Let’s get it started!


Recipe:

Portions: 2 people

Preparation time: 20 min

Cooking time: 20 min     


Ingredients:

  • 160 g of rice (to choose from the following types: Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, Roma, Baldo)

  • 2 large cloves of garlic

  • 100 ml of olive oil

  • 50 g of raisins

  • 100 ml of white wine to soak raisins + a splash to deglaze

  • 1 l of hot vegetable stock

  • 100 ml of apple juice (choose one from tart types, eg. Granny Smith or Antonówka)

  • 2 tbs of fresh chopped parsley

  • 30 g of cold butter

  • Salt


Preparation:

  1. Put all the ingredients on the table, breathe deeply, and get ready to start gloriously the cathartic ritual of cooking risotto.
  2. Put raisins in a colander and rinse well to remove impurities. Put them in a a bowl with 100 ml of slightly warm white wine and soak for about 20 minutes. Then drain and set aside.

  3. Slice the garlic thinly. Set aside.
  4. It’s time to toast the rice (“tostatura”): put the grains in a dry pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. You don’t need to add any fat. Shake and stir regularly. After toasting the colour of grains will be bright and they’ll smell nutty, but first of all the texture of your risotto will be extra-creamy but not sticky.
  5. Coat the bottom of a pot with olive oil, add garlic and saute over low heat.

  6. When oil starts shimmering add the toasted rice, stir well with a whisk and deglaze with a splash of cold white wine. Whisk is usefull to whip the starch released by rice.

  7. Add a ladle of hot vegetable stock to the rice, and stir until it appears almost dry. Then add another ladle of stock and repeat the process. Never abandon or forget your risotto on the stove!

  8. Halfway through the cooking time, add raisins and stir well (check the rice package for the cooking time suggested!).

  9. Add the apple juice. It adds flavor and a delicate note of acidity to your risotto, creating a pleasant contrast with the sweetness of raisins. Add salt to taste.

  10. Two minutes before cooking time finishes, remove the pot from heat. Add small pieces of cold butter, cover and let rest for 2 minutes. Do not stir!

  11. Stir well and add chopped parsley or, as I made, garnish with some drops of parsley oil after the risotto is plated.


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