The Lighter Side of Italian Cooking

Two recipes for hearty dishes, made healthier.

This article, written by , appears on The Guardian.

A lighter way to enjoy Italian recipes by Anna Jones

Italy’s soothing staples are given a fresh, light touch this week with an onion and nettle cream risotto and ricotta dumplings rolled in a perky, cherry tomato sauce

My cooking life has centered around Italy. I earned my stripes in the kitchens of Fifteen, at the time an Italian restaurant where I made one hundred risottos a week and rolled every incarnation of pasta on a bench by a sunny window. I spent a long summer in the Chianti fields of Tuscany working every hour as a line cook in a posh, white-table-clothed trattoria. No one spoke English and I spoke little ltalian. In fact, the only words I knew were food related, so all my conversations that summer were about oil, wine or polenta. As much as I love to travel in my kitchen, Italian food is the food I come back to, it feels like home in every way.

I don’t make as much time as I would like for the lovely labours that come with Italian cookery: rolling pasta, shaping plump gnocchi or the slow and meditative stirring of a risotto. This week I’ve put that right. First, a risotto which uses buttery, slow-cooked onions for creaminess meaning it’s a little lighter than the half-a-pack-of-butter risottos I used to make in my days in the kitchen at Fifteen. Next, a forgiving gnocchi recipe which will please all ages, from 1 to 100, served with my favourite tomato sauce – bright and sweet with cherry tomatoes finished with a slick of brown butter. View the recipe at The Guardian…

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