It’s a quick weeknight dish, and it’s also elegant and delicious.
Bertinelli calls her mom’s risotto ‘perfection at the end of a fork’
In her 2017 cookbook, Valerie’s Home Cooking, the Food Network star mentions her mom a lot. And that’s with good reason — her mother loved to cook and instilled in her daughter that same passion.
“Recently, I picked up my mom’s wooden recipe box and began going through the index cards with her handwritten recipes,” Bertinelli wrote. ” … Each recipe was, in a way, like a short story: the roast was for a birthday, the casserole for a family get-together, and meatloaf for the start of the school year.”
Her mother’s “specialty was Italian food, even though she’s of English-Irish descent and raised in New Jersey. She learned to cook from the women in my father’s family.
“When I was a kid, she made a mean lasagna, and the rich, creamy goodness of her risotto still races to the forefront of my mind when I think of perfection at the end of a fork.”
Valerie Bertinelli uses ground pork in her risotto
Considering that the former Hot in Cleveland star’s parents raised four kids, meals had to be quick and easy. Enter this risotto.
“I think of this as an upscale, one-dish meal I can serve during the week,” she wrote of the recipe. “It’s creamy, with al dente rice, as risotto should be, and the combination of spinach, tomatoes, and pork make this a hearty meal.”
Bertinelli shared that, while she chose to use pork in the recipe, her mother to the actor’s disappointment would use the “neck, gizzards, and liver” from a roasted chicken.
“I ate around them, pushing them all over my plate with an expression of disgust that never left my face until I put my plate in the sink for washing,” she recalled. Explaining the “sorta” in the recipe’s name, Bertinelli added: “I have, of course, eliminated these from my version, using ground pork instead.”
Served as she suggests with crusty bread and a salad, “this is a winner that can become, as it’s been for me, a favorite family recipe. I’ll just add one more note: Thanks, Mom.”
Find a version of Bertinelli’s risotto on Food Network’s site.
Valerie Bertinelli shared even more recipes from her mother
In addition to her mom’s (sorta) risotto, Bertinelli in her cookbook reminisced about other recipes from the family recipe box.
There were Breakfast Biscuit Sammies. These morning sandwiches are based on the sausage and cheese bites her mom made “for my dad’s poker games, and always made sure there were leftovers that I ate for breakfast.”
Another favorite featured in the book is Mom’s Amped-Up Snack Mix. Bertinelli says she updated this snack. With “wasabi peas, mixed nuts, ramen mix, melted butter, and other goodies,” we’re pretty sure her mom would approve.