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20151026_195507I couldn’t believe the excitement of my family last night after dinner when they knew we were travelling to Italy this evening.

We love Italian food,  and before our journey started we would eat Italian regularly. Ian and I love Italy and could really just pack a bags and disappear there right now…           We had a stop in Rome earlier in the year when we celebrated our Silver wedding, but one day is just not enough…no where near enough.

Italy is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is “ultimately supreme” this is known as a unitary state. Italy is mainly a temperate climate and covers approximately 300,000 square km – this equates to 116,000 square miles. We are all familiar with Italy, due to its shape, being referred to as “The Boot”. There are around 61 million occupants and  it is the 4th most populated country in the EU(European Union). Situated in the Mediterranean and sharing borders with San Marino, Slovenia, Switzerland, France and off course The Vatican City.

Etruzcan, Celtic, Greeks and other cultures have lived on the Italian Cape since Ancient times. However, Rome eventually arose as the leading control, defeating almost all the ancient world and then becoming the foremost political, religious and cultural centre of the West. During the Dark Ages, the Roman Empire collapsed and with the Migration Period the region suffered greatly. Though, by the 11th century a few small independent states, mostly in the central and north, began to emerge through banking, commerce, and shipping, this then laid the basis for private enterprise. From the 14th to the 17th century brought us the Renaissance and familiar artists we know of today. Discoverers discovered new routes to the Far East. Italy remained politically disjointed; then came under European rule. Then there was a long period of decline until the mid 19th century.                                                                                                            After many failed tries, eventually towards the early 20th century, the New Kingdom of Italy quickly developed. Though, rural and Southern regions continued to be barred from development causing large-scale migration of Italians away from Italy. 1922 saw Italy Mussolini lead the way, then after the war saw economic destruction and a civil war – followed by Italy eliminating monarchy, democracy was restored and now Italy has the third largest economy. Incidentally Italy is in the world one of the most visited countries

The cuisine of Italy has grown through the centuries of political and social changes, where roots stretch as far back as ancient times. Italian food is noted for its local variety, its profusion of tastes and maybe , just maybe one of the most popular in the world. The Italian food is typified by its ease and many dishes have between four to eight ingredients. Ingredients and dishes vary by area, but many dishes that were once regional are now cooked all over the world.  Much to our pleasure too, cheese and wine are a huge part of Italian food and there are many variations…Oh let’s not forget there fantastic coffee too.

We had many recipes to chose form tonight, on the web and also in the books that we already had by various chefs, but as Ian was “my” chef and my research wasn’t to his liking, also the thought of Pizza dough, as the ‘”children”…. asked for home made Pizza, was to much to cope with, he opted for a risotto. Yes, we have had this recipe before and its worth sharing in case you haven’t seen the recipe. “Jamie’s Italy” came to the rescue and the risotto was delicious. Ian cooked “risotto ai finocchi con ricotta e peperoncino” translated to “fennel risotto with ricotta and dried chilli…

Fennel is really underrated ? just try it in this delicious risotto and you’ll be hooked


A beautiful blend of fennel, garlic and ricotta put together with a risotto bianco – which can also be found in the recipe book.

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The risotto bianco, a combination of celery, onion and garlic is sautéed, when soft the rice is added and stock added spoonful by spoonful…

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The bianco is cooked until the rice is half cooked and then the sautéed fennel is added to the dish…

The rest of the ingredients follow and the smell of this dish is gorgeous – I have to say I was glad Ian chose this for this evening as it is one of my favourites…

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The mixture of all these ingredients are – without a doubt – a fantastic blend and the flavours are intense and scrumptious.    We served with just some simple ciabatta bread and it was gorgeous…

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Family Verdict: An easy recipe to cook and the flavours intense and…..     B-E-A-UTIFUL!                   Be careful to not let the rice catch the pan and if you prefer more heat more chilli can be added.. The family loved it and yes of course will be cooking again, when we have exhausted our travels…..