A few weeks ago I made proper risotto for the first time, and today I bring you the results: A delicious, easy, vegan with Gluten Free option Beer & Almonds Risotto!
The inspiration behind this Beer & Almonds Risotto
Back in march this year, we went to Portugal, and after spending the whole day walking and exploring the city of Lisbon, we had a lovely dinner under the stars. On the menu, one dish catches my attention: Almond Risotto.
When I saw that perfectly cooked, creamy and absolutely delicious risotto, my mind immediately took me back in time to when I was twelve. The time when we met Tio Mario (uncle Mario, whose real name was Mario Autore).
Tio Mario was an old man that lived in our building, originally from Napoli, Italy. Everyone’s perception was that Tio Mario was just a difficult man. He barely talked to anyone, and he didn’t have family and friends in the country.
After a few weeks, my mom realized they had met before, back when my mother was studying at university. He was a restaurant owner, his restaurant was near the university and my mom went there often. That realization evolved into instant connection. That old, lonely man started cooking for us every week, we started visiting often, to the point that if we were not at home, we were with Tio Mario. We soon became family.
Endless pastas… and, risottos
The first thing we tried from Tio Mario, was pasta! Now you know my little secret: my appreciation for pasta recipes comes from those memories. My LOVE for culinary arts was also born and grown since the day I met Tio Mario, because he not just started cooking for us, but when I told him I wanted to be a chef, he soon welcomed me into his kitchen, and became my mentor.
Endless kind of pastas, risottos, pasta, sauces, snacks and desserts, became part of our lives and memories, alongside our newly added family member! 🙂 He was 84 by the way!!
Check out the perfect companion of pasta with tomato sauce! The Ultimate Vegan Meatballs
The inspiring picture
Few weeks ago, on a random day, I was thinking of Tio Mario and I thought of the risotto we had back in Lisbon. When I saw the picture I captured after the one of the risotto, the idea hit me. I didn’t have white wine so I would make BEER & Almonds risotto 😛
I don’t know why I was so intimidated by the idea, because it ended up being so easy to make! You just need to start with the right rice, risotto rice , and you have won half the battle.
How to Make Beer & Almonds Risotto
To make this Beer & Almonds Risotto, I started by dry-roasting some silvered almonds on the pan, until they were light golden brown and fragrant. Once they were done, I set aside, added some olive oil to the pan and sauteed some shallots.
Once the shallots were fragrant and translucent, I added the risotto rice and this is when the fun starts. You start by adding the alcohol, seasonings and the stock, stir and stir, until the ingredients transform into a yummy, creamy al-dente risotto.
It would have not been possible for me to have a great Beer & Almonds Risotto without Gennaro Contaldo’s fantastic tutorial on how to make Risotto Bianco.
- 100gr onions
- 1 Tbsp Ginger powder
- 1 Tbsp Curry
- 1 Tbsp Garam masala
- 200 gr potatoes
- 400 gr cooked chickpeas
- 200 gr Carrots, chopped
- 400 ml coconut milk
- Water (amount needed to cover ingredients)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 200 gr fresh spinach
- Fresh Coriander or Parsley, finely chopped
- Sautee the onions with olive oil until translucent and fragrant.
- Add Spices: Ginger, Curry, Garam Masala and let it cook for about a minute on low, until fragrant.
- Add Potatoes, Carrots & Chickpeas. Add Coconut milk, and finish covering with water. Make sure everything is covered with the liquid. Also add tomato paste and turmeric.
- Let it come to a boil and then, simmer for 20 minutes or until the veggies are al dente.
- Add fresh spinach and coriander or parsley and mix well.
- Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with basmati rice on the side and garnished with fresh coriander.
Sometimes it saddens me that Tio Mario passed away four years after we met him. It also saddens me that I don’t remember all the names of the dishes, or the flavors of many. Despite that, I keep his memory alive, and every time I cook or see any resemblance of Italian gastronomy, I think of my beloved Tio Mario.
Do you have food memories that you cherish? I bet you do!! Never take them for granted and express your gratitude and love for them on every possible opportunity! Until next time! 😉