When I got home a few weeks ago, there were two books waiting for me. One was "Breakfast, Lunch, Tea," a recipe book by Rose Carrarini who owns Rose Bakery near Gare du Nord in Paris. I'm not a huge chef, mostly because I have trouble following directions (as aptly observed by my 2nd teacher who then wrote it on a report card I still have lying around somewhere), but I found this recipe book so well done. Rose has filled it with simple, delicious recipes she uses in her own kitchen. They're fairly easy to follow, even for the saddest beginner.
I made the tomato, aubergine (eggplant), and mint risotto last night and found myself delighted that I could make it without spending four hours in the kitchen - unlike last time. The recipe is as follows:
8 tomatoes, halved
3 eggplants, cut into 3cm pieces
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus extra for roasting
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 onions finely diced
salt & black pepper
1 3/4 cup carnaroli rice (arborio rice is fine)
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 large handfuls of chopped mint
1 teaspoon caster sugar (optional - I didn't use this)
Preheat oven to 400F. First roast the tomatoes skin side up for about 30 min., until the liquid is gone and the skins can be easily removed. Roast the eggplant chunks, covered well in olive oil, next to the tomatoes for about the same amount of time. The eggplants should be soft but not rubbery. Put 4 tablespoons of oil and butter in a saucepan and add the onions plus a pinch of salt. Cook over a very low heat until they are soft but before they are brown. Pour in the rice and cook over a medium heat, stirring, until it becomes translucent. Pour in the stock one ladleful at a time and cook, stirring, until all the rice has absorbed all the liquid before adding more. After about 5 min., add the tomatoes & eggplant. Continue adding the stock until the rice is creamy but slightly al dente. (I ended up not using all of the stock.) Remove from heat and add the parmesan and mint. Stir well and check the seasoning. You may have to add the sugar because of the acidity of the tomatoes. (I didn't add the sugar.) Serve with extra parmesan cheese & mint garnish if desired.
And.... the finished product....