What Kind of Risotto Do Gondoliers Eat?

Well, I suppose the answer is, “The kind that is put before them.” But I want to offer another answer.

I picked up The Gondolier’s Cook Book by Marcello Brusegan from Supernova Edizioni last time we were in Venice, and the first recipe we made was Risotto with Raisins or Risi co la’ua in Venetian dialect.

I’ve always been drawn to dinner foods with fruit in them, so this was a natural. And my partner RJ makes the best risotto in the world (well, maybe rivaled by the go risotto at Da Romano on Burano, but it’s kind of hard to go there often when you live in California).

Here’s the recipe:

600 grams rice (we used Arborio rice)

150 grams Malaga raisins (we used golden sultanas)

1 tenth liter olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic

2 T. chopped parsley

70 grams grated parmesan


Soften bruised garlic and parsley in oil at low heat, add rice, a little boiling water, and stir frequently until nearly cooked. Just before removing from the stove, add raisins and parmesan. Serve hot.

My mom’s tip when cooking with raisins: soak them in warm water first to plump them. I’m not sure how you bruise garlic. Punch it a few times?

Other culinary choices in this cookbook: Rice with bruscandoli (hop tops); boiled sea snails; female crab salad; coada soup (that’s pigeon soup); and calves brains rolled in breadcrumbs. You can see that there are a number of recipes this pescatarian is unlikely to try. But Brusegan also lists some of my favorites, like branzino, an Adriatic fish. And if I get the urge to have cuttlefish in their ink, I now have the directions: “Clean cuttlefish, removing rostrum, eyes, cuttlebone, insides, and skin if possible. Be careful to keep a few inksacs in a bowl to be used later.” Yeah, I didn’t read any further than that. I’ll have to wait till the next time I go to Venice.


About seductivevenice

Teacher, writer, traveler, dancer, reader, photographer, gardener.
This entry was posted in Gondolas, Venice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What Kind of Risotto Do Gondoliers Eat?

  1. Nancy Schwalen says:

    I have missed a few. Will have to go back and catch up. The risotto sounds yummy. As to bruising garlic, smash them alittle under the flat of a knife?

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