Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kitchen Entertainment - Cooking with Friends

(risotto, risotto carbonara, gluten free)
Kitchen entertainment - adventurous, enjoyable, and a way to get to know about those endearing little idiosyncrasies you'd otherwise never know your friend possessed. Kind of like taking a road trip without the complications.

Truly -  some of the best times I've had were cooking fabulous food with a friend.  I talking about cooking together - participating in the creative process and in the end result. Working together in the kitchen, sharing a cup of coffee or a glass of wine sure works for me.

With this in mind, the other evening I got a spur of the moment call from an old friend. Seems he wasn't doing anything and wondered if I was free too. Would I like to come over, have dinner and catch up on the last 6 months. Yes - I was open and yes - I'd be there at 5. Since this was spur of the moment he hadn't any idea what to prepare, so we hashed back and forth the virtues of various entrees, then settled on an experimental Risotto Carbonara (I love pasta carbonara, he loves risotto). We decided to make this a joint culinary effort, he as the executive chef would come up with a recipe, gather the ingredients, and orchestrate the process - I would function as the sous chef - second in command.

When I arrived, he had the kitchen ready for action. All the ingredients and cooking utensils had been assembled - the stock prepared. We commenced with the process.  He read the recipe - I chopped the onions.

He read the recipe again - I chopped the pepper bacon. (He couldn't locate panchetta and the pepper bacon turned out to be a terrific substitution.)

He sauteed the onions and bacon. I pressed the garlic.

Then came the crucial stirring of the rice, and simutaneausly blending in the stock. He poured, I stirred.

After that he grated the pecorino romano cheese and incorporated it into the risotto.

It was going well - we congratulated each other for what looked to be a fine risotto. Oh yes, it called for another glass of wine.

At a certain point the risotto was ready for a short stint in the oven (20 minutes). We then lightly scrambled the eggs and added the creme fraiche to the mixture. (Again, he couldn't locate creme fraiche, so we ended up using the best sour cream I've ever tasted - Organic Valley Organic Sour Cream - and it turned out fantastic!)

Then we took the risotto out of the oven and with the precision of a master chef gently folded in the egg mixture. It was look'n good!

In fact it looked good enough to have come out the pages of Food and Wine.  Even better - it tasted like it came out of Food and Wine.  And  even better than that was the crazy fun we had putting it all together, together.

So here we were with a pretty darn good Risotto Carbonara - the gluten free version of the classic pasta dish.  Never would have thought of it without my friend and visa versa. 

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