Ricotta Risotto, Risotto al Salto and more musings from the Book Wh*re

Books everywhere and nothing to read!

I hate starting a new book!

Well actually, I love starting ‘NEW’ new books, you know, ones I haven’t read before.  That’s a rare occurrence for me.  Even at the height of my money-making days I couldn’t afford to keep me in new books. Now even my new books tend to be used (Amazon Marketplace ships internationally!)

Besides, If I only read new books I wouldn’t be able to revisit my old favorites.

It’s deciding which of my hundreds (thousand +) of ‘old’ books I should re-read next that I hate.

It takes so long.  I wander from room to room, getting lost in first this one, then that one…

Lately I’ve been letting size matter (yeah, like all those spam emails say).  I’ve been searching out big books with small print; even better if it’s a series.

I have been tagged by the Passionate Palate for the Book Meme.

I’ve already done this the proper way a few months ago, so this time I decided to put a different spin on it.  I can never resist talking about books.  This time I’ll talk about pulp fiction.

1. Last book I read: “The Mists of Avalon”, by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  I’ve owned it for years but never read it.  Stupid woman!  It was good…and at more than 1,000 pages perfect for my current reading mode!

2. My favorite book series:
“The Wheel of Time”, by Robert Jordan.  12 books (and counting) of more than 1,000 pages each, small print, this is a sci-fi series one can really sink the teeth into.  Well written and a great story.
“The Roselynde Chronicles”, by Roberta Gellis.  Old, historical romances set in the 12th century.  6 hefty books that focus more on the history than on the romance.  She also has a set of medieval murder mysteries.
“The Outlander Series”. by Diana Gabaldon.  6 tomes (and counting) of historical, time-travel, not-really-romance-but-sort-of.  A good read.
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, by Douglas Adams.  All 5 books in the trilogy (his words, not mine) are wonderful; slim volumes, but hilarious.
The poetry of Judith Viorst – starting with “It’s Hard to be Hip Over 30 and Other Tragedies of Married Life”.  Her  prose is also good: “Necessary Losses” is one that comes to mind.
I also like Michael Crichton, Terry Pratchett, Jane Austen and Bill Bryson.  Their books may not be series but I’ll read them all IN a series so it’s close.

3. One book that I own, would like to read and haven’t yet:  The Bible.  I would also like to read the Koran, the Talmud and books on the other major religions in the world.

4. One book that I have always wanted to own but don’t: The complete, unabridged Dictionary… And a pedestal stand to put it on. Did I mention that it’s big?

If I am ever tagged for a third time I will talk about ‘serious’ books….or maybe food books….

Now I’ll talk about serious food.  Seriously good food.

This is based on a recipe from the book ‘Risotto’. This is a very white, very creamy, very rich risotto. The end result should be almost soup-like, not stiff. Add the spinach at the end so that it just wilts. There was enough leftover for me to try Risotto de Salto, one of the traditional uses for leftover risotto.

Ricotta Risotto

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto – Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
1/3 cup dry, white wine
2 1/8 cups chicken stock
2 shallots
1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 – 1/2 cup spinach
1/3 cup whole milk ricotta (3oz, 90gr)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese – freshly grated (about 1.5oz, 45gr)

Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat. Slice the spinach into strips. Peel and chop shallots. In medium saucepan heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice and sauté stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes until rice has white center. Add white wine and stir. When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/2 cup of stock, stir. When stock is almost absorbed add another 1/2 cup and continue adding 1/2 cup at a time and stirring. Reserve 1/4 cup to add at the end. Taste the rice. They should be just ‘al dente’ – slightly resistant to the tooth but fully cooked. You can add a bit of water at this point if needed but you shouldn’t have to. Add the rest of the stock, the spinach and both cheese. Stir vigorously over heat to combine well and wilt the spinach. Spoon into a bowl and serve.

Risotto al Salto
    Use any risotto the does not have big pieces of other food (beans, meat, etc.) in it.  This risotto was probably not the best choice; with the ricotta it was a bit too creamy… Risotto alla Milanese would be perfect!

1 cup leftover risotto, room temperature
1 egg
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp butter

Lightly whisk egg in a medium bowl. Add risotto and mix. Heat 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp butter in 8″ (20cm) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the risotto to the center of the pan and spread it out with the back of the spoon. Sauté 10 – 20 minutes, until it holds together and the top starts to look dry. You should be able to carefully lift up the edge with a spatula. Once you can, take a peak to see how brown it is. It should be a nice medium-dark brown before turning. I turned it using 2 plates: slide it onto one plate, put the other on top. Flip it over and slide it back into the skillet, to which you have add the remaining butter and oil, uncooked side down. Cook an additional 5 – 10 minutes, until browned. Remove, cut into quarters and serve.

BTW, I know 2 people, both males, who won’t read fiction.  They happily watch trashy movies but won’t read fiction.  How limiting!  Both to the available book choices and to the imagination!

I, on the other hand will read the trash that comes in the post if I have nothing else.  I also read while watching telly…..’cause I am the Book Wh*re!

35 thoughts on “Ricotta Risotto, Risotto al Salto and more musings from the Book Wh*re”

  1. I am the same way about books. My wallet could never keep up with my desire for new ones!
    I love the sound of both of these risotto recipes Katie. As a big risotto lover this post has given me serious cravings!

  2. When you say The complete, unabridged Dictionary, do you mean as in the Oxford English Dictionary? My son owns a copy and it’s not just one book it’s like 25 or so and it is really a fascinating read on any word we’ve ever looked up. Have you ever seen “The Professor and the Mad Man”? It’s by Simon Winchester. Think it may also have come out as
    The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary as an audio book. It’s not science fiction but it is incredible!
    Love the Risotto al Salto!

  3. I want an unabridged dictionary, too. They are so massive, I wonder how those other dictionaries get away with offering so few words.
    When faced with a rich and lush risotto, it is always so hard for me to commit to loving pasta over rice. This, of course, is a quibbling dilemma.

  4. Here’s to Book Whores. I’ve been one too, ever since grade school when I would breathlessly read the “Dick and Jane” books right through on the first day of school.
    Mike

  5. Hmmm. What do you like to read? Long story, but I occasionally get freebies from publishers. I’d be glad to send some newbies your way.

  6. I’m partial to The Hitchhiker’s Guide, too. Odd, funny, and much to think about. I’m also partial to risotto; I’ve just written a post for this week! Must be the cold weather settling in — makes me gravitate towards comfort food, and comfort reading.

  7. Truffle, the best thing is the second is from leftovers!
    Tanna, I WAS talking about a monstrous, single edition I saw once that weighed about 100 pounds. NOW I want the 25 volume one…
    Don’t tell mon mari….
    Susan, please don’t tell me I have to choose… Please, not that!
    Mike, you were a bad boy… I skipped to the end to find out what happened (Not much!)
    Amy, You get FREE books? Lucky you. Me? I read anything with words 😉
    Lydia, comfort food and books! Toss in a glass of wine and you have the perfect day!

  8. Hi Katie first time this year reading other peoples blogs. It’s hard to get phone reception in most of the bays. Loving yours.
    Books Ah yes I couldn’t have a life without them. Thank God for the library as well.
    I took out 21 books for this holiday and also bought several including Ken Follet’s “World Without End”. I presume you have read “Pillars of the Earth”.
    I keep my grandchildren in books for birthday and Xmas so important to love books.
    Back onto food that risotto looks rich but I bet it is wonderful. We love risotto cakes
    great lunch.
    Going to subscribe to your menus I have just joined paypal and I have to wait till I get the expanded number on my statement Will subscribe then
    Cheers and thanks for the entertainment it’s been a fun morning reading.

  9. I’m on a Bill Bryson kick right now. I adored “Notes from a Small Island” — about the funniest book I’ve ever read, I think!
    Now I’m reading “Neither Here nor There.’ It’s fun too, but not quite as eloquent as the former. I know there are plenty of others and I think I’ve only read one, so I’ll be reading him for a while.

  10. Thanks so much for all these books recomendation!!! We are food and books devourers. I would like to recomend you a couple in exchange: Shibumi from Trevanian (read many years ago but it was such a great book) and The Codex from Douglas Preston (any book from D.Preston and Lincoln Child are Fantastic!)
    About the Rissoto, it looks absolutely gourgeous!!!!! I love rice in any way… I dint’t know about this leftover “al salto” dish mmmmm, it looks like a tortilla but with rice… how interesting!!!

  11. I’ve never done well with risotto. It always ends up heavy and stodgy. Maybe it’s supposed to, I don’t know.
    Books – I’ve just started hitchikers’ guide in french. Got it at the local library
    Il y eut un silence terrible et spectral.
    il y eut un bruit terrible et spectral.
    Il y eut un silence terrible et spectral.
    La flotte de construction de Vogon s’evanouit dans l’encre du vide etoile.
    fans will recognise the passage.
    Super!
    I had a go at reading the Koran on line. Started at page one, like you do. What a dreary liturgy of the terrible wrath of Allah for the unbeliever. It made the Bible look cheery and friendly. I didn’t get passt page 8.

  12. i love reading books but i tend to choose historical books, like those setting back in 1800s and beyond. i just love imagining what the like living in that era. that risotto looks sooooo creamy!!

  13. Sounds delicious and pretty nice way to do leftovers. And on the note of ricotta, I only just discovered the wonders of Marscapone cheese yesterday as well–I wonder if that would work in risotto as well? *shrugs*
    I’m not so good at keeping up with reading…I used to be, but it just doesn’t happen so much now.:-/

  14. You have hit on my favorite subject, besides food. Although my library of cookbooks soars over 200 I still love reading non-food books also. I am into Elizabeth David right now and need one or two more of hers to complete my collection. But another all time favorite of mine is Anne Rice. Her vampire series is awesome. She does tons of extensive research before she writes which also makes the books historical. For light reading I like Christopher Moore and Peter Mayle.
    I could talk for hours about books! Thanks for some suggestions!
    Risotto is a favorite in our house also. My son makes one with sundried tomatoes. I will have to pry the recipe out of him one of these days.
    I also like the bowl in your first photo. Makes for a nice presentation!

  15. That risotto looks so creamy and delicous, Katie! Yum!
    I LOVE The Mists of Avalon and The Outlander series! Such great books to get lost in!

  16. Interesting and informative post Katie!:) I love risotto, but haven’t cooked a lot with it yet…
    btw, I’m hosting a Game Night Party event on my blog and would like to invite you to send in a delicious entry if you can! (details on my blog) Hope to see you there!

  17. Thanks so much Gilli! And i have read Pillars of the Earth – I’m looking forward to the other!
    Lucy, great idea! I really need to try reading in French…maybe a children’s book!
    Betty, I’ve read most of Bryson’s – Your current read was not his best, (in my opinion) But most are hilarious
    Colleen, I want to get one of those headlamp thingies…so fetching, I think!
    Stewert, I may re-think that as a goal…Is there an abridged version do you think? I could always go for some Vogon poetry…
    Arfi, I love the historical ones, too! The risotto was REALLY creamy!
    Mike, I actually used marscapone this time because the shop was out of ricotta – it was wonderful!
    Mimi, perfect for a Wisconsin winter, eh?
    Michelle, it made it more decadent than usual…
    Deb, thanks for the lovely comments! I completely forgot Ann Rice – I have all of her vampire books and the witch books as well! (slaps head firmly)
    Mansi, I’ll swing by for a peak and look forward to playing!
    JennDZ, they are both good reads! Gabaldon needs to publish faster, though…

  18. I’ve got two books on hand right now that I’m so excited to read I’m coveting them a bit before cracking them open . . . like a box of chocolates. One is the follow up to Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns. The other is the long-awaited follow up to Pillars of the Earth (which I think you’d really like, if you haven’t already read it), World Without End. Yea!

  19. My late husband was an editor, so I lived in a house which was insulated by books. I have a reference library, but I’m actually partial to the library these days. I have a stack of books by the bed which I will pass on when I’m done reading them, and then I get more from the library.
    And the risotto dish looks terrific! Thanks for sharing a leftover recipe, too — The whole post makes me wish it was raining again, and that I didn’t have to go to work!

  20. “The Wheel of Time” is one of my favorite series as well. I also like the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R. Martin.
    The ricotta risotto sounds nice and creamy. I like the idea off frying up leftover risotto.

  21. I love the Risotto al Salto idea. The whole idea of having a crispy rice cake leaves me salivating…I need some breakfast. My favourite book series is The Lymond Chronicles. It is a 6 volume historical romance novel by Dorothy Dunnett set in Scotland and Europe between 1547 and 1557. It centres around Francis Crawford who is impossibly charming and an inspired leader of men. Lymond is very good company!

  22. Swirlingnotions – both are on my Amazon ‘waiting to be purchased’ list. I use to buy tons of books on my trips back to the U.S. but travel weight restriction put a stop to that!
    Tigerfish, that was the best part!
    Toni, how wonderful to have your own reference library… but I do see the advantages of just using the ‘big’ one!
    Kevin, that’s a series I’m not familiar with – thanks for the tip!
    BelliniValli, another new author! Amazon will be so happy…and so will I! Thanks – they sound like something I will really enjoy.

  23. I love both these recipes. Both look so very satisfying and yummy in my tummy!
    Books! Love books! I admit, though, after having to read so many research studies for my dissertation, I haven’t yet been able to read for please as much as I used to. I am sure I will get back into it again, though.

  24. Chris, that is too bad! I’d be lost without ny books! Strangely enough, I never read books when I travel. It’s my magazine catch-up time.

  25. Katie
    Just beden reading a couple of very good food reads
    Hugh Fearnely Whitinstall of River Cottage fame
    A Year of Eating Dangerously Tom Parker Bowles and My Year in France by the wonderfullJulia Chils
    A delight for all food lovers
    Cheers

  26. Very nice post about books and risotti! I never had the ricotta risotto, it looks really good – whereas I tried the ‘al salto’ one (I just usually call it frittata).. really nice! Did you ever hear of arancini? That’s another great way to use leftover risotto.

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