Have you ever studied for finals for half a year (for your sake I hope not)? Towards the end, all you’re looking forward to is that one day, the first day of freedom in which your brain can just turn into a sponge. And then once it’s arrived, within a few hours after having cleaned up all of the papers, books, empty bowls and coffee mugs that accumulated around your desk and in the whole apartment over the past months, you can finally sit down and relax. Well, that would be the idea. But seriously, who can go from 110% to 0% within a day? I can’t. I start getting fidgety and feel like you should be doing something.
Because my brain wasn’t quite at the “let’s go read yet another book, but this time for fun” stage yet and also wasn’t in the mood to drink my state of agitation away (although a few days later my brain came to it’s senses and decided to excessively drink itself into a relaxed/somnolent state…. man 6 months of almost complete abstinence kills your tolerance :-P), I channeled my energy into the kitchen (where else…?). Based upon a tub of mascarpone left in the fridge, I decided to attempt a classic italian dinner. Bruschetta, risotto, saltimbocca and a lemony tiramisu. Buon appetito!
1 loaf of ciabatta or similar bread
1 bunch of fresh basil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped (optional, number three would strongly object to this addition)
Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut the bread into slices and place on a baking tray. Bake the bread for about 5-6 minutes.
- Meanwhile, quarter, deseed the tomatoes and dice them. Chop the basil leaves.
- Mix the tomatoes, onion, basil, garlic cloves and 2 tbsp of olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once the bread has been baked, brush each piece with some olive oil (If you like if very garlicky you can rub each piece with a clove of garlic before brushing on the oil).
- Top with your tomato mixture and serve straight away with some prosecco or amaretto sours (keeping it italian) as an apero.
about 300g risotto rice
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
some white wine
600-800ml vegetable stock
salt and pepper
about 300g chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half depending on their size.
- If you have not cleaned the mushrooms, do it now. It is tedious. Whatever you do, do not make them wet (apparently they lose their taste a bit and the texture goes weird). And be gentle, they break so easily. I had no idea how to clean them. Technically you need some special brush to remove all the dirt and forest souvenirs you bought with your chanterelles, but who owns that? Kitchen paper worked just fine.
- Heat some olive oil in a pan. Fry the onion and garlic until golden brown and aromatic.
- Add the risotto rice and stir a few times to coat it with the oil. Deglaze with a dash of white wine and start adding the stock. Add about 300 ml initially. Turn the heat down a bit and stir the rice occasionally until the stock has been absorbed.
- Keep on adding more stock until you feel the rice is just about done (look at the instructions on your rice package, I’m guessing it will say about 16-18 minutes). You still want your rice to have a bit of crunch at this point.
- Now you can add your mushrooms. Stir them in and let them cook with the rice for a couple of minutes. You can also stir in a dollop or two of mascarpone and some grated parmesan to make your risotto creamy.
- Season with salt and pepper, maybe add some more mascarpone or parmesan if you feel like it.
Venison Saltimbocca with a Marsala Jus
I decided to experiment with a seasonal version of the saltimbocca: venison instead of veal. It turned out surprisingly well. The picture really does not do this main any justice.
makes 12 saltimboccas
About 750g venison schnitzels/scallops, cut into 12 equal sized pieces (5mm-1cm thick)
12 slices of prosciutto
12 large sage leaves
Clarified butter, to fry
1 tbsp tomato puree
150ml red wine
100ml stock (use the left overs from the risotto)
Salt and pepper
- To make the saltimbocca simply take one piece of venison, top with a slice of prosciutto and a sage leaf. Fix them in place using a tooth pick. Repeat with all other pieces of venison. Season the backside of the venison with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 80°C and place a large baking dish/gratin form into the oven.
- In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Fry the venison for about 1-1.5 minutes on each side and immediately transfer to the baking dish in the oven. Let the saltimbocca’s bake for about 30 minutes until almost cooked through (Don’t worry, they wont be over-cooked despite the thinness of the meat, but I’m sure 20 minutes in the oven will do them fine as well if you like your meat more rare).
- Meanwhile to make your jus: In the same frying pan, fry the tomato puree with the remaining venison juice for 1-2 minutes. Add the marsala, red wine and stock. Cook and reduce until you have about 150ml of liquid left. Now add the butter and let it melt. Season with salt and pepper. Fertig!
- Serve the saltimbocca with the jus and the chanterelle risotto.
One two three four – SCORE
[Numerical ratings are out of four, where four is best/healthiest/hardest.]
Taste: 3.5 overall. I really like garlic so I overdid it with the bruschetta…minus points.
Difficulty: 2. It’s all pretty simple and straight forward, but making risotto needs full attention!
Healthiness: 2.5…. the risotto somehow kills the healthiness of this meal. And the tiramisu (forgot to take a picture so no part of post, sorry :-))
Cost: 3. Venison can get pricey… I was lucky and there was a special offer on. You could always get in touch with your nature-freak, hunting side and go shoot your own, you’d even get some interior deco antlers out of it :-P.