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Tomato Passata sauce, part 1

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Common Passion.

Artichokes and goats cheese risotto

A few months ago I was contacted by this wonderful American couple, Bill and Kristi who had discovered Orvieto years ago . They have become so in love with this small medieval town that every chance they get they come back to it. More than that , over the years  Bill and Kristi decided to share their experience with other people, so they organize tours from America to Italy for anyone who has a passion for art, cuisine and the Italian lifes style

 And it was for the food and this common passion for good food that  Bill, Kristi and I got together.

It seemed several groups were interested in taking part in cooking classes and because of the large number of people involved the easiest thing to do was to organize the lessons using a huge professional kitchen in the beautiful Palazzo del Gusto in Orvieto.

A first time in a professional kitchen is a bit nerve wrecking for anyone, but it was also a most wonderful experience not just for me but also for the many people who were closely following all I did … .. Yes, I was a bit scared  … … so, I burned my hand with the panna cotta, and then I started talking in Italian to one of those fantastic professional machines that did not want to change  programs to a quick freeze….not normal, I know talking with a machine in any language !!






However, among many laughs, mozzarella to cut, eggplant to be fried and appetizers to prepare, the lessons went very well. The students were fantastic and it gave me the golden opportunity to meet lots of different and really nice people.

So at the end when there is a common passion for good food, nothing can go wrong!

Serves 2


1spring onion finely chopped

1 cup dry white wine

Evo oil

a hand full of aromatic herbs (parsley, chives, thyme), chopped finely

 1tbsp butter

150grams Rice Violano Nano

40grams soft goat cheese

a dash of lemon juice

Here’s how: In a pan soften 1 / 2 spring onions in EVO oil . Clean and cut the artichokes into small pieces, add in to the pan with the onion. Cook for 1 minute, then add1 / 2 cup wine and1 / 2 of the fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Continue to cook with a lid, until the artichokes are soft , add warm water if necessary during cooking. Once cooked, blend the cooked artichokes  into a cream. For the risotto: Heat 1 tbsp butter in a medium pot or skillet, add the rest of spring onions and let it cook for a minute or two until it gets soft. Add the rice, and stir, allowing it to toast. Pour in the remaining wine, raise the heat, and let the wine evaporate. Ladle warm water into the rice, about one cup at a time,  stirring  patiently until the water is  absorbed before adding some more. When the rice is nearly done, after  about 15 minutes or so, add the artichoke  cream , goat cheese, the rest of the fresh herbs and the lemon juice. Keep staring for few minute more, until you get a creamy but not too thick risotto,. Remove from the heat. Add salt & pepper, and let it rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

2 comments to Common Passion.

  • Bill Steiner

    We and all those with it loved it! You are such a gifted teacher, and the recipes we made are all so doable. Everyone plans to cook your good food when they get home. To a person, they raved. Thank you for a great time!
    Kristi and Bill

  • Stephanie Brimm

    Dear Simona, I think of you often and the fun we had two weeks ago in the very first class you did with Bill & Kristi. Both you and the class were a real treat!! Maybe I will see you again in the fall. Until then I’ll be reading your blog. Much love, Stephanie & her mom, Rita.

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