A week in the Dolomites and I think I am already gaining weight. If not for the trekking and biking we had been doing, I wouldn't fit in the clothes I brought with me. Seriously, I am in trouble because I can't stop eating in this place. There's not much variety in the menus of the rifugi (refuges) or restaurants but you never get tired of the redundancy nonetheless.
In summer, the main activity is to trek in the mountains choosing the difficulty according to your capacity and the main objective is to reach a rifugio (refuge) hidden somewhere at a back of a mountain and award yourself with a big lunch or something in between meals. My chosen award is always a big slice of apple strudel or a bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with frutti di bosco (berries). It's not the same when you buy it while sitting comfortably in the town. It's the psychology of attaining it that makes the food in the rifugio special.
I do prepare almost all our dinners but I make them simple because after straining my muscles all day, I don't have so much working in my body to cook something elaborate. One of the first dinners I prepared is risotto ai funghi or mushroom risotto. Where else can I get the best mushrooms?
San Vito di Cadore. One of the beautiful towns in the Dolomites. This is also where I buy the food before going
home back to the mountain chalet we are renting.
Risotto ai Funghi (Mushrooms)Ingredients:
- 75 grams dried mushrooms, soaked & drained (or 300 grams fresh mushrooms)
- 300 grams Arborio rice or anything similar
- 250 ml. or 1 cup white wine
- 1/2 onion, chopped finely
- 2 knob of butter
- 1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
- 1 liter hot vegetable broth
- salt & pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- bunch of parsley, chopped
- Boil a pot of vegetable broth.
- In another pot, sautè the chopped onion in extra virgin olive oil. When they start to color, add the rice. Toast for about 5 minutes, moving constantly.
- Add the wine on higher flame. Let the alcohol evaporate.
- Add the mushrooms and about a cup of hot vegetable broth. Keep the flame low.
- Keep on ladling small amounts of hot vegetable broth while cooking. Stir the rice frequently to avoid sticking.
- Turn off the fire when you see that the rice is already al dente.
- Add the butter, parmigiano reggiano & parsley. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving.