You may not have heard about her, but to many, especially globe-trotting celebrities, she has been Italy’s darling. She is the one person in the world that they have all agreed should cook for them. Her name is Mamma Agata, and she has probably fed more stars than MGM studio has ever contracted during its heyday. Celebrities like Gore Vidal, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and even Jacqueline Kennedy have all visited her in Italy for dinner. Her cooking is, as Jacqueline Kennedy once said after enjoying her mozzarella and tomato salad, “eleganza molto simplice” (elegant simplicity).
For one hour on Saturday, February 12th, and Sunday, February 13th, at the Fifth Annual Virginia Wine (and Food) Showcase (Westfields Marriott, 14750 Conference Center Drive, Chantilly, Virginia), Chef and Sommelier Gennaro Petti and Chiara Lima, Mamma Agata’s daughter, will conduct a cooking demonstration, which will focus on her mother’s special cooking secrets and personal stories about the rich and famous. Below is her recipe for risotto, which she has prepared exclusively for WUSA-TV viewers.
Risotto con funghi e salsiccia
(Risotto with Mushrooms and Sausage)
1 1/3 cup Carnaroli rice
1 small onion (thinly sliced)
¾ to l lb sweet Italian sausage
3 – 3 ½ oz dried mushrooms
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup white wine
1 quart vegetable broth
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pan over low heat.
Add the onions and cook until golden brown.
Once the onions are golden brown, add the rice to the pan and stir the rice until it becomes translucent. This will allow the risotto to begin to absorb the flavors of the onion, butter and olive oil.
Add the wine to the risotto and cook for about five minutes, until the wine is absorbed.
Add sausage to the risotto and cook for three minutes each side to sear the sausage.
Add a ladle of broth to the risotto. Cook the rice in the broth for five to eight minutes per ladle, allowing the rice to absorb the broth before adding more.
Add the mushrooms to the risotto and cook for ten more minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
Finish it off (optional) by sprinkling a complimenting cheese, such as Parmigiano and some freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately!