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Risotto con le Uvette -- Risotto with Raisins


"This," writes Mira Sacerdoti, "is an old Venetian recipe much loved by children. Grandma Rina used to make it often for her grand children, who would set the raisins aside as they ate it and count them afterwards to see who had the most. There were no prizes, but the children had a wonderful time and always finished the risotto on their plates." She also notes that the combination of sweet and savory one encounters in many Italian Jewish recipes is quite old, and suggests it could be a holdover from the first Jewish communities to arrive in the Peninsula -- well before the birth of Christ. Her editor, on the other hand, thinks this particular recipe could be Arab.

  • 2 1/2 cups rice
  • 1/4 pound raisins
  • 5 cups steaming beef broth
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Minced parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Sauté the garlic and the parsley in a pot in the oil, until the garlic begins to color, then remove them with a slotted spoon so as to leave the oil in the pot, discard them, and return the pot to the fire. Sauté the raisins for about a minute, then add the rice and continue sautéing, stirring briskly, for about 5 minutes more. Stir in the broth, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook over a low flame, stirring occasionally, until the rice is done.

I'm not sure what wine to suggest, though a fairly rich, not overly crisp white might work nicely. For example, a Soave or a Roero Arneis.

Recipe translated from Mira Sacerdoti's La Cucina Ebraica in Italia, which is in turn a translation of her Italian Jewish Cooking.

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