I read a quite interesting article yesterday in the Italian food magazine Cucina Italiana, it dealt with the ‘enigma’ why it is so difficult for female chefs in France to get three stars in the Guide Michelin. There are several gutsy and very very good female chefs that have tried and are trying to achieve this but alas they never make it and as if that wasn’t enough, they have to stand that their cuisine is called feminine! This made me start thinking about whether there is a difference between how women and men cook. Well there are the obvious difference that normally it’s the woman who cooks during the week and the man, if he is interested in cooking, makes the more festive meals. And yes I know that I am generalizing here because there are men who do the daily cooking out there but let’s be honest-it’s a typical woman’s chore. So apart from women making more everyday type of cooking, is there really a difference between how men and women cook? I tend to think that the difference lies in what they cook maybe rather than how they cook but I’m not even sure that this is true either! What do you think?
To return to the Michelin stars, it is quite interesting to note that there are there female chefs with three star status in Italy, Nadia Santini, Pescatore in Canneto sull’Oglio, Luisa Valazza, Al Sorriso in Soriso and Annie Féolde, Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence! Annie Féoldi, French by birth but living in Italy since almost forty years, gives a quite interesting explanation to this; she sustains that when the French Revolution got rid of the aristocracy, the private chefs had to start restaurants in order to survive which laid the foundation to a male dominated profession and leaving France with a lot of small restaurants open to all the different social strata at quite an early stage. In Italy on the other hand, cooking belonged to la mamma, who dominated both at home and later in the trattoria as well! And I think this is quite true, how many times haven’t I been to restaurants where you can see old women cooking in the kitchen? And I have to say that I find the sight reassuring because then I know that the food will be good!

risotto di piselli

The other day I bought fresh green peas still in their pods because we really like a good risotto with fresh peas in this family! And I like sitting in the sun, shelling the peas, occasionally putting a pea or a tender pod into my mouth and enjoy the freshness of the taste and the texture of them. I like how it feels when I do it and I like the calm of the action, after a while you fall into a soothing rhythm and I almost regret when I finish it! But then I think about
why I did it and I can almost taste the risotto!

4 servings

About 1 kg/ 35,3 oz of unshelled peas. I forgot to weigh the peas after I had shelled them but I think it was about 250-300 gr
1 fresh onion
450 g/15,9 oz of rice, Arborio or Carnaroli
1 ½ l/ 6,3 cups of vegetable stock. I made mine with a part of the pea pods, celery stalks, carrot, onion and tomato.
A large knob of butter
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

– Slice the onion finely and sauté it in a lot of butter until it has become transparent.
– Add the peas and go on cooking for a minute or two.
– Add the rice and sauté it until every grain of rice is covered with butter, stir all the time.
– Now it is time to start adding the stock, a ladle at a time, always stirring. When the rice has absorbed the liquid, it’s time for the next ladle of stock!
– When the rice is cooked, you add a knob of butter and as much grated parmesan cheese you want. Stir well and let it rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

scarti di piselli