famous risotto

Courtesy Villa d’Este

At Villa d’Este, it’s  natural to wonder what the favorite risotto is of the executive chef, affectionately known as the “King of Risotto.” I loved reading about the Risotto With Spring Vegetables that is also one of the hotel favorites,  and evidently that of Pope Paul II as well. Chef Parolari and Jean Salvadore share their story.

“At Villa d’Este, this risotto is a favorite of visitors to the hotel for two reasons: 1) since it’s studded with vegetables rather than more fattening ingredients, diners can pretend that it’s low in fat; and 2) the velvety texture and taste of the risotto base are perfectly counterbalanced by the crunchy texture of the fresh vegetables.

This risotto happens to be a favorite of Luciano himself and one that he earmarks as his most memorable in the thirty-eight years that he has been in the kitchen of Villa d’Este. Without hesitation, he commented: “In 1996, I made a risotto for Pope John Paul II. He came to Como for three days and was the guest of the archbishop, who called Villa d’Este and asked for our chef to prepare his meals. I made up a menu consisting of light chicken broth, steamed vegetables, and stewed fruit. His Holiness sent word back that he wanted a risotto with vegetables! Before his return to Rome, he thanked me in person and we were photographed together.”

Even if you don’t have the Pope over for dinner, this recipe is sure to be a memorable one, no matter with whom you share it.”

 Excerpt from “Tales of Culinary Adventures from Villa d’Este”

 -The Gourmet Review

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