Satisfying and filling risotto

January 8, 2008 6:05:08 PM PST
Cooking ideas and a risotto recipe from one of your family's favorite restaurants, Pasta Pomodoro.

Make a unique dish from one of the Bay Area's favorite family restaurants, Pasta Pomodoro! Joining us now to show us how to show your family to fall in love with risotto with seafood is chef and founder of Pasta Pomodoro Adriano Paganini!

Risotto Pescatore
Serves 4-6

Risotto

    ½ cup finely chopped onion
    4 tablespoons butter (reserve 2 Tbls for final step)
    2 cups (1 pound) Arborio rice
    1 cup dry white wine
    5 cups chicken stock (at boiling temperature)
    1 cup grated Parmesan
    2 pinches of saffron

Method:
Sauté onion in medium saucepan with 2 tablespoons of butter until translucent. Add Arborio rice and sauté on medium heat for 4 minutes. Add wine, stir and let reduce completely. Add hot stock 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup of stock. Stir in saffron and keep cooking on a medium flame.

Complete cooking time for risotto is about 20 minutes, when Arborio rice has completely absorbed broth and is not crunchy. Finally, stir in grated parmesan cheese and the remaining two tablespoons of butter until the Arborio rice has emulsified with butter and cheese.

Sauce

    ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    2 teaspoons chopped garlic
    1 pound mussels (cleaned and left in shell)
    ½ pound fresh whole clams (in shell)
    1 cup white wine
    ½ pound jumbo shrimp (peeled and deveined)
    ¼ pound calamari (cleaned and sliced)
    ½ cup tomato sauce - (your own or store bought)
    Italian parsley to garnish

Sauté garlic in large pan with olive oil until light brown. Add mussels and clams (in the shell) with wine, and continue sautéing. When the shells open, add shrimp and calamari. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until done (approx 5 minutes). Add tomato sauce; stir and let simmer a few minutes. Plate by pouring sauce on top of risotto and garnish with parsley.

Pasta Pomodoro introduces an expanded menu
Pasta Pomodoro, the popular group of stylish, casual neighborhood Italian eateries with headquarters in San Francisco, is introducing an expanded menu, a unique wine program, updated décor and is shortening its name to Pomodoro. Owner and Chef Adriano Paganini announced that these enhancements will continue to roll out over the next few months throughout his 25 Bay Area locations.

"Our name has evolved into Pomodoro to better reflect the wide variety of food on our menu," Paganini said. "Our pasta dishes are extremely popular, but we also serve soups, panini, risottos, salads, and main courses like Fulton Valley free-range chicken, Niman Ranch beef, and grilled King salmon."

The New Menu
"We have always presented high-quality ingredients and healthy choices, and often offer seasonal options," he said. "As our guests have become more accustomed to ordering organic and artisanal food, we have added several new items to our menu. Organic mixed lettuces, organic spinach salad and organic farro salad are now being offered. Handcrafted Fra'mani Gentile and Piccante salame served with ricotta and grilled piadina can be ordered as an appetizer. Organic whole wheat fusilli is easily substituted in several of our pasta dishes. We have also added two risottos--Risotto Salsiccia using Italian carnaroli rice, saffron and sausage, and a Risotto Speciale, prepared with seasonal ingredients."

New Wine Program
Complementing the updated menu is the debut of an exciting new wine program, created to introduce guests to a more casual approach to wine while presenting a larger offering. Chef Paganini is offering only Californian and Italian wines, highlighting the unique, as well as the popular. Several wines are exclusive to Pomodoro and all were chosen for their exceptional value.

"I simply went back to my roots," said Paganini. "In Milan, wine is abundant and unpretentious and a part of every meal. I chose these new wines because they match our simple food well and are all about value."

Like many osterias in Italy, Pomodoro will now serve most of their wines in three sizes of modern carafes with small tumblers for a more casual wine experience. Also on the menu are higher-end wines, served by the bottle, which range from $25 to $80. All of the wines on the carafe and bottle lists are described simply and presented in order from lightest to fullest body.

Updated Décor
Italian style has always been a hallmark of the Pomodoro restaurants. Enhancing the lively atmosphere, the updated décor will present a charming blend of the old and the new, introducing classic Italian icons and movie posters along with bold graphics and more color. Even the servers have a new look. Paganini decided their look should be more approachable and fun to match the new décor. They will be wearing black and red T-shirts, nice jeans, and black aprons - moving away from their all-black attire.

Paganini has long been committed to running his restaurants as efficiently and environmentally sound as possible, with minimal waste. Always striving to improve, he is also implementing a comprehensive "green" strategy at all Pomodoro restaurants.

"It's not easy for a restaurant to be perfectly green," Paganini said. "But we're continuing to improve on our re-use, compost, and recycling programs because it's the right thing to do. We're moving away from plastics. For instance, we serve kids' beverages in a biodegradable cups now. And we just replaced one of our floors with bamboo. We're also eliminating toxic cleaning chemicals. There's a long way to go, but we're committed."

About Pomodoro
Owner and Chef Adriano Paganini, a native of Milan, Italy, worked in restaurants in Italy, France, London and San Francisco before opening the first Pasta Pomodoro in San Francisco's Marina District in 1994. Headquartered in San Francisco, the popular group of moderately priced, casual Italian neighborhood restaurants with unique food and Milano style has grown to a total of 43 Pomodoro restaurants located throughout California and in Arizona. For more information, visit http://www.pastapomodoro.com/.

Pomodoro Challenge:
Pasta Pomodoro searches for Northern California home cooks to "impress the chef" with their favorite Italian specialty dish.

Prizes include $5,000 shopping spree.

Semifinals to be held in Novato, Pleasant Hill, San Jose and Roseville, CA.

Northern California home cooks with a passion for Italian cooking, are invited to participate in "Impress the Chef," a culinary contest taking place at all Northern California Pomodoro restaurants.

In announcing the competition, Pomodoro Owner and Chef Adriano Paganini invites participants to provide a written story describing their favorite home-cooked Italian specialty dish and to explain why it is so special to them. Entries must be received by Friday, January 25, 2008. The descriptions can be dropped off at contestants' local Pomodoro. Online entries can be submitted beginning December 20 at www.pastapomodoro.com

From each of the 28 Northern California Pomodoro restaurants, five local winners will be selected based on their written descriptions. Those contestants will be invited to bring a sample of their dish to a regional event in February (dates and locations are below). There, the entries will be judged on the basis of taste, presentation, originality and the story about the dish. Contestants do not have to disclose any closely guarded recipes, and must be willing to be videotaped and photographed during the regional semifinals and finals for use in the media.

The grand prize is a $5,000 shopping spree at the winner's favorite store. Four winning regional finalists will each receive a prize of a "Pomodoro Dinner Party for up to 25 Family and Friends" (a $590 value). The 28 first-prize winners from each restaurant will win $250 Pasta Pomodoro gift certificates, while the other four local winners from each restaurant will receive $25 Pomodoro gift certificates.

"Impress the Chef" regional semifinals will take place at the following locations:

    San Francisco and Marin Regional Semifinals
    Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
    Pomodoro
    140 Vintage Way
    (Vintage Oaks)
    Novato, CA 94945
    Tel: (415) 899-1861

    East Bay Regional Semifinals
    Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
    Pomodoro
    45 Crescent Drive
    Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
    Tel: (925) 363-9641

    San Jose and Peninsula Regional Semifinals
    Saturday, Feb. 23, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
    Pomodoro
    378 Santana Row
    San Jose, CA 95128
    Tel: (408) 241-2200

    Sacramento Regional Semifinals
    Sunday, Feb. 24, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
    Pomodoro
    Renaissance Creek
    3984 Douglas Blvd., Ste. 100
    Roseville, CA 95611
    Tel: (916) 773-4027

The finals, to be held March 8, 2008, will be held at a Pomodoro location to be announced. The four finalists - one selected from each regional semifinal - will have one hour to prepare their Italian specialty dish, with the help of a chef assistant. If the dish takes more than an hour, they will be able to prepare some of it in advance.

About Pasta Pomodoro
Owner and Chef Adriano Paganini, a native of Milan, Italy, worked in top restaurants in Italy, France, London and San Francisco before opening the first Pasta Pomodoro in San Francisco's Marina District in 1994. Headquartered in San Francisco, the popular group of stylish, casual neighborhood Italian restaurants with unique food and Milano style has grown to a total of 43 restaurants located throughout California and in Arizona. For more information, visit www.pastapomodoro.com.


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