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Friday, June 29, 2007

You Have GOT to Be Kidding

Mavis and I went out to dinner and a movie tonight because I had a free movie ticket I got for spending money at Old Navy. Of course then we dropped $60 on dinner because I decided late this afternoon that I felt like eating at that particular restaurant, so with that and the babysitter it wasn't exactly a bargain. But we did see Knocked Up, which was quite funny.

What really bugged me happened at dinner. I ordered the lamb sirloin, served with a spring pea-pearl onion risotto and pea shoots. Sounds great, right? But the risotto was Not Fully Cooked. Every other grain of rice still had an opaque white center, and it was downright chewy. Lovely flavors (it included truffle oil--actually a bit much of it, because it was on the greasy side), but bad texture. So I mentioned it to the server when she came around to ask how we were doing, and she came back saying that they like it that way, that it's supposed to be al dente. Okay, first of all I've had risotto in many fine eating establishments (it's a favorite), here, in New York, and all over Italy, and I've never before been served one that wasn't silky and creamy and delectable AND FULLY COOKED. And second, there's al dente (which I don't think should ever apply to risotto) and then there's CHEWY. They brought me some (delicious) mashed potatoes to make me feel better, but what I really would have liked would have been a PROPERLY FINISHED risotto with spring peas and pearl onions. Harumph.



Blogger MWR said...

I note that a Veneto-style risotto, made with the Vialone Nano variety of rice, is supposed to be quite al dente. Like, chalky.

Marcella Hazan on Vialone Nano: "It is the nearly unanimous choice in the Veneto, where the consistency of risotto is looser . . . and where people are partial to a kernel that offers pronounced resistance to the bite. (Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, p. 30)

I always use Carnaroli myself. It's the Baskin-Robbins French Vanilla of risotto rices: costs a bit more . . . and worth it.

I saw that film tonight also. Pretty funny.

June 30, 2007 at 1:19 AM  
Blogger Janet M Kincaid said...

Harumph is right! I'm with you on the risotto. It should always, always, always be creamy and silky. I love making risotto!

So tell us more about 'Knocked Up'. I'm still trying to decide whether to see that. We're torn between seeing 'Sicko' and 'Rat-a-too-ee' tonight with friends. I know, not very high brow, but what can I say?

June 30, 2007 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger MWR said...

I know what I'd pick. You will almost never find an NYT review on this order (the reliable A.O. Scott):

"'Ratatouille' is a nearly flawless piece of popular art, as well as one of the most persuasive portraits of an artist ever committed to film. It provides the kind of deep, transporting pleasure, at once simple and sophisticated, that movies at their best have always promised."

On the other hand, while I'm slightly curious to see what the intellectually dishonest hypocrite has to say about the advantages of life in Cuba, I'm probably going to miss that one.

June 30, 2007 at 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that you mention it, I guess I managed to never order risotto in the Veneto. Good thing, eh?

I think we'll probably end up having some kind of risotto this week, maybe even squash blossom (my favorite, which I first had in Milan).

I think Knocked Up is funnier, certainly in parts, if you're a parent. Seth Rogen definitely had some good lines, but Paul Rudd is funny, Kristin Wiig is funny, Leslie Mann is hysterical, and the Apatow Kids are hilarious and adorable (I want my baby to look like the younger girl, who has strawberry blond corkscrew curls).

Ratatouille we'll wait and see with Number One when he gets back.

June 30, 2007 at 12:08 PM  

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