A recent trip to St. Louis brought me to the Italian Hill neighborhood. Joe DeGregorio’s tour led a group of thirty or so food folk from ravioli shop to bakery to gelateria to Italian grocery to a handful of other tasty Italian stops. Sitting down to lunch at Mama Campisi’s gave Joe a chance to bring out t-shirts and hats for those who wanted to buy mementos of their time in The Hill. He also offered copies of St. Ambrose Parish’s Taste of the Hill Cookbook and it took very little to get me to purchase. An ideal souvenir, it was also a steal at only $10. Too, church cookbooks intrigue me. This spiral-bound book was going home with me.
I was pleasantly surprised to find recipes for classic Italian fare (such as the Chicken Spiedini we’d enjoyed at Mama Campisi’s) in Taste and looked forward to attempting some of them once home. The recipe for Strawberry Risotto stood out especially. Listed in the casserole/main dish section, it was savory, not sweet. Ingredients were few and I had them all: Arborio rice, butter, white wine, water, salt, Parmesan cheese.
In true church cookbook form, specifics were sketchy. Sweet or dry wine? How much wine, butter, water, salt, and cheese? With only sweet wine in the house and guessing on the rest, I jumped in and made a batch for tonight’s supper. To add creaminess, I subbed in about 1/2 cup almond milk for the same amount of water. It was a pretty and tasty dish. While it was very much in the savory category, the fruit from the berries and wine gave it a certain elegance. I hoped my girls would love it as well, so sold it as a new dish called “Pink Rice.” At ages 6 and 10, they remained unimpressed. But I’m pleased I tried something new and look forward to a bowl for breakfast tomorrow.
- Butter (used about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- Small glass white wine (used about 1/4 cup)
- Boiling water (used about 1 1/2 cups)
- Almond milk, soymilk, dairy milk, half-and-half or cream (about 1/2 cup)
- 3/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries
- Freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt to taste
In large saucepan, melt butter. Add rice; stir to coat with butter. Cook, stirring, until rice is lightly toast.ed Add wine; stir to coat. Add water, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and cooking until water is absorbed before adding next batch. Stir in milk; cook, stirring, until liquid is absorbed and rice is creamy. Stir in strawberries. Add cheese and salt. Makes generous 2 cups.