Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ariosto Seasoning - Risotto with Tomato Sauce

First thing first, I have just launched my fan page on Facebook.  If you enjoy my recipes, feel free to click on the Facebook logo below and "Like" my page. I guess by now, we have Facebook accounts so, I will use this opportunity to share with you some food news, interesting finds and recipes made by others, and even some cool science facts related to my field of research in nanotechnology. I love sharing my finds on Twitter and on my own personal wall. Feel free to post on the wall your favorite recipe, questions and comments.

While I was in a conference at Cambridge, I was contacted by an Italian company called Ariosto which sells all-natural seasoning mixes. I like their idea that they sell more than the basic Italian seasonings that are usually found in supermarkets. They have seasonings for potatoes, fishes, pasta sauces, roast beef, chicken, and even omelettes. If you are not the type of person who preserve herbs in your fridge, these products can be suitable for you.

I didn't hesitate to say yes when it comes to Italian food, so the company sent me samples of their products. On their website, there are some interesting and creative recipes that are published by other food bloggers, and some of them, I know quite well. Anyhow, I wanted to make a dish that doesn't intervene with any of the food bloggers. I was thinking of making something with the seasoning for tomato sauce. One would instantly think of mixing tomato sauce into pasta. I think tomato sauce has more than one purpose...

I was inspired from a few of my past recipes like Beef with Tomatoes, Rice with Shrimp Egg Sauce and Artichoke Risotto with Pesto. All these have a generous amount of sauce and served with a fair amount of rice. In fact, why not make a basic tomato sauce and mix it into a risotto?

Do you have a killer tomato sauce to share? Have you used tomato sauce other than on pasta? Please do post your recipe link on the comment section, I will definitely read it.

Serves 2
Preparation Time: 5 mins
Simmering Time: 45 mins to 1 hour for tomato sauce
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Printable Recipe


Tomato Sauce
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Ariosto seasoning for tomato based sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes

1 small onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
4-5 cups warm vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups Tomato Sauce
2 tbsps butter (optional)
Parsley for garnish
Parmesan cheese


1. Prepare tomato sauce. In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add Ariosto seasoning to the pan and brown it for a few seconds.

2. Add tomatoes with its juice and cut them into cubes with scissors. Bring to low heat. Simmer for 45 mins to 1 hour, uncovered until thickened.

3. Prepare risotto. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tbsp of butter and oil over medium heat. Cook chopped onion until transparent, about 5 mins. Set aside.

4. Add Arborio rice to skillet and cook until translucent. Add a ladle of broth until the rice has adsorbed most of the liquid. Stir frequently. Bring back cooked onion to skillet.

5. Continue adding a ladle of broth at a time, stirring until liquid is almost fully adsorbed.

6. After 15 mins, once rice is almost done, stir in 1 1/2 cups of the prepared tomato sauce.

7. Continue adding broth in the same manner until rice is al dente. For a creamy texture, stir in 2 tbsps of butter.

8. Spoon risotto onto serving plates. Garnish with parsley and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Salmon en Papillote with Maple Syrup, Ginger and Mango

I'm back from my trip to UK. In fact, I was back since the beginning of August. I was just overwhelmed with work and I'm a bit behind with my research, so I'm catching up slowly... I also get distracted by the numerous summer activities and events in Montreal. If you visited Montreal, you would understand why...I received numerous e-mails and tweets about when I'll be publishing my next recipe. I have been pressured quite a lot by co-workers too, so you're not the only ones... I'm so fortunate to have such loyal viewers and I greatly appreciate it.

The Highlands of Scotland in a nice sunny day.
You might wonder what I did in my three-week vacation in the UK. I visited over 30 cities which includes Wales, England, Scotland & The Highlands. When I'm in a foreign country, I hunt for the best places to eat and acquire as much knowledge about their food culture. Expect some posts about my food adventures in the following weeks.

Yes, this is Stonehenge!
I received a request a week ago from my brother's friend who wants me to make a salmon dish which is savory and, at the same time, original. When I deal with salmon, I immediately think of "en papillote", a classic French cooking technique in which the fish is steamed inside a sealed pouch with fresh herbs, seasonings and aromatics. My favourite marriage of ingredients is maple syrup, ginger and lime which gives a contrast of sweet, tangy and citrus flavour to your dish. Simply licking your mixing bowl, you'll be amazed of this combination. I added some mango and coriander for some freshness to the salmon.

What is your favourite salmon dish? If you have already published a salmon recipe on your blog, feel free to post your link on the comment section. I would love to read it!

Note: I presented both ways to make a pouch. Both methods are as good, I didn't see any difference in terms of doneness and flavors.

Serves 4
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Oven Time: 15 to 18 mins
Printable Recipe


1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 salmon fillets, skin on or off
salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsps maple syrup
1 tbsp ginger, grated
2 tbsps lime juice
2 tbsps coriander, chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 mangoes, cut into cubes


1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. In a medium bowl, mix maple syrup, ginger, lime juice, coriander and scallion.

3. Add in the mangoes and, with a spoon, gently coat the mangoes with syrup mixture.

2 options for the pouching:

4. Cut parchment paper in a heart shape. Add a tsp of olive oil in the middle of one side of the heart. Place the salmon skin side down, add 1/4 of the mango garnish on top of the salmon.

Fold the other half of the paper, starting from one end of the heart, crimp the open edges to seal them by making a series of small folds.


4. Lay a foot-long parchment paper. Repeat the above process for the salmon. The pouch should look like a calzone.

5. Place salmon pouches on a baking pan and bake for 15-18 mins.

6. To serve, place the pouches on serving plates, and let each person cut open his or her own pouch. Bon apétit!


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