Bread & Wine is a collection of essay's about family relationships, friendships and the meals that bring us together. This mix of Anne Lamott and Barefoot Contessa is a funny, honest and vulnerable memoir. It's a celebration of of food shared, reminding readers of the joy found in life around the table. It's about the ways that God teaches and nourishes people as they nourish the people around them. It's about hunger, both physical and otherwise, and the connections between the two.
I was really excited to get it (ordered off of Amazon here), but the hype was so high that I was figured it wouldn't live up to my expectations. I was happily wrong! Bread & Wine is really that good, all the hype is totally warranted. Each chapter is a short story that usually concludes with a recipe. The stories are heartwarming and feel good, and the recipes are mouth watering but still doable for non-chefs like us.
Shauna writes in a way that feels like you're catching up with an old friend. She's open and real and honest and it's really refreshing. Things aren't sugarcoated in the book, but I liked that. She shares stories about her family, friends, food and her relationship with God - I learned a lot about my own relationships from hers. This book is just good for the soul reading and it may very well be my favorite book of 2015 so far, too.
If you're not huge into cooking, that's okay too! I think you'll still enjoy this book because it's Shauna's story telling that makes this book so great. The recipes are just a bonus, in my opinion. She has tons of good ones, but my very favorite recipe in the book is her basic risotto.
I'd never made risotto before because it just seemed intimidating. Complicated and easy to mess up are usually things I prefer to stay away from in the kitchen. But she mentioned this risotto recipe in the book quite a few times, enough times that I HAD to try it. And again I was pleasantly surprised, it really was easy! It's more of a time consuming recipe than a difficult one. It requires your attention and takes a little bit of time, but it's so worth it.
My favorite thing about risotto (besides how delicious it is), is that you can customize it a million ways. I love to throw in asparagus and roasted tomatoes, or you can do mushroom, shallots, corn, shrimp, spinach, peas, sun dried tomatoes - anything. Not to mention the leftovers. This is an awesome recipe to make on the weekend when you have a bit more time and then eat it all week because it makes tons of food! I cut the recipe in half when I make it and we still have plenty of leftovers.
Boil the 6 cups of chicken broth in a small pot while you chop the onions and press your garlic cloves.
Pour a thin layer of olive oil into a dutch oven or stockpot. Throw in the onions and soften on medium/medium low heat for five minutes or so. Next, add your 4 garlic cloves and give it three more minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the garlic smell takes over your kitchen (the best)!
Throw in the arborio rice to the garlic/onion mixture and stir, stir, stir. Once the rice is coated thoroughly, add in 1 cup of white wine and stir, stir, stir. Stirring is key to risotto if you haven't noticed yet ;)
Once the wine is absorbed (about a minute or so), add a cup of warmed broth and stirrrrr. What you're trying to do now is keep the risotto from drowning, but also keep it from drying out. I keep the heat at medium - you definitely don't want your rice boiling, more like slightly simmering if that makes sense.
Again, after the rice absorbs the broth, add in another cup of broth. Keep adding broth cup by cup and stirring every couple of minutes until broth is gone. This takes me about 30 minutes to finish. The risotto is done when the rice feels soft with a bite in the middle. Remember, it's supposed to have that bite so don't keep cooking to get rid of it - you'll overcook if you do that!
Last step: mix in a handful of Parmesan cheese and finish with a couple rough grinds of black pepper.
Y-U-M. Make sure to let me know if you try it and/or if you have any questions on the recipe! Enjoy!