Well just to make it clear - it isn't always like this.....this is also the time of the year where we get down to serious business and manage to do all the heavy lifting.....this year so far the kitchen got a fresh coat of paint, the Small Room is right now getting a total makeover, more painting in the other guest rooms and next week we are starting to make a small berry garden at the back of the house with plenty of space to lounge around on comfy chairs while enjoying a chilled Umbrian vino and a sunny spell.....
This is also the months where we clean out the cupboards after a long season....you all probably know the feeling of all those half used bags of pasta, rice, beans and grains you have lying around....well January and February are the months where we cook and eat all those goodies hiding in the back......and must say - soup is a great way to cook with those leftovers and what is better on a cold winter day......
In summer time we really like to cook the traditional Pomodoro e Riso - a real classic, that a true italian will eat all summer...it can be eaten warm or cold...basically a tomato stuffed with rice, parmesan and herbs and then baked in the oven until really well done and the rice is beautifully cooked......
But the other day it was cold, and the season of tomatoes is still a few months out - hence the preserved tomatoes and the soupy idea.....
extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, fine sliced
3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only
pinch of dried chili
400 g of tinned tomatoes, drained
150 g risotto rice, we used Carnaroli
700 ml water
sea salt and black pepper
splash of red wine vinegar
1/2 raddichio, shredded (optional) or other herbs
In a medium pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onion, garlic, rosemary and chili for 15 minutes on medium to low heat without taking any colour. Add the drained tomatoes and break them up with the back of a wooden spoon. Let the tomatoes cook down a little - adding salt at this stage helps to break them down as well. Add the rice and turn to coat them in the tomato. Pour in the water and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked - you still want a little bite to the rice....Stir every once in a while.....The soup is ready once the rice is cooked and has thickened the soup - if too thick loosen with a bit more water and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and a little vinegar.....stir in the raddichio if using and let it cook down a minute or so. Drizzle with olive oil when serving..
This is great served with some good toasted bruschetta with lots of olive oil - or do as we did.....had a piadina lying around and a little gorgonzola......so a tasty side for the soup...piadina with gorgonzola and some wild yellow mustard from the garden....a weed - and it grows like crazy...but luckily its really tasty as well......