A blast from the past. I am going to posting a little less often over the next few weeks because I will be working on the Braised Blue: Year One, book.


So normally when I write a “Foods You Should Know” piece I talk about the history or social inner workings of a specific food or dish. Today is going to be half recipe and half history lesson. Earlier in the week I described how to make a barley risotto. I’ve since been living in fear of some kind of mafia retribution for besmirching the name of risotto. Take this as a confession and penance for my food sins.*

Risotto is an Italian rice dish that is about four hundred fifty years old. Rice was brought to Italy by Arab merchants in the fourteenth century. It was considered a valuable commodity and a luxury because it was not native to Italy. That was until Italian farmers figured out that the climate in northern and central italy was perfect for growing short grain rices. The production of rice exploded in italy in…

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