This article, written by John Broening, appears on The Denver Post.
In the food instruction business, there is a strong prejudice toward dishes that are quick and easy. But a lot of food, especially the kind of food served in good restaurants, is neither quick nor easy, which is why you tend to order it in a restaurant.
On a recent trip to New York, I ate at Andrew Carmellini’s Lafayette, a kind of 21st-century French brasserie.
Carmellini is Italian-American and has cooked in Italian restaurants, so the French food at Lafayette speaks with an Italian accent.
The most impressive dish I had at Lafayette was a risotto, Italian-tasting but made with French elegance. Usually, as with most dishes that require a good amount of technique, risotto is one-dimensional. So much attention is paid to executing it properly, making the perfect broth, serving the rice at the perfect al dente with the perfect consistency, that building a complex, satisfying flavor becomes an afterthought.
Carmellini’s risotto was complex-tasting, probably because it was neither Italian nor French. He finished it with lemon juice (not traditional) and used gooey Gruyère as well as the more common Parmesan (definitely not traditional) and added a few garnishes to give the dish a variety of textures: crunchy, earthy fried sage, a miniature dice of sautéed pumpkin and salty, spicy, roasted pumpkin seeds. Get the Recipe at The Denver Post.
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