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30 December 2009

Simon Hopkinson's new column

I've just spotted that Simon Hopkinson is writing Stove Notes in Intelligent Life, The Economist's lifestyle spin-off.

The column is billed as going "beyond the received wisdom to give tips on well-loved dishes".  The first such dish is risotto.

Hopkinson reminisces about some great risotto's he's had from two particular restaurants, one in Paris, the other Burano, an island in the Veneto.  Both restaurants have different ways of making risotto, in Italy, it's adding a local freshwater fish to the stock, in Paris it's the mantecare.

I was particularly interested to read about mantecare as I'd read about mantecatura in Giorgio Locatelli's Made in Italy and I assume they are the similar techniques.  Although as with so many things Italian there seems to be a bit of disagreement as to what it is.  According to Hopkinson it's "a vigorous, final beating-in of butter".  According to Locatelli mantecatura involves beating in grana (i.e. grainy cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padana) and butter, whereas Marcella Hazan advocates parsley as well as the butter and cheese. Whichever, a bit of beating the butter seems important to good risotto.

It's nice to see with this column that the trend for interesting, intelligent food writing is going from strength to strength.


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Brilliant! Thanks for the tip off!

Superb. Thanks for the link. I'll be tuning into SH's column on a regular basis. I love the expression "mantecare". And I'm now gagging to try the risotto at Da Romano and L'Osteria.

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