When celebrations are in order: an epochal ruling and a tomato and provolone risotto

Tomato and provolone risotto

Tomato and provolone risotto

The saying goes that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I do not completely agree. I think that everyone is entitled to their opinion as long as it is respectful and mindful of the fact that other people’s opinion may be different and – still – totally worthy to be expressed and listened to. Of course, the following opinion is on a subject that has been controversial for more that half century and it is mine (and Stefano’s) only. Feel free to agree or disagree and express your opinion in the comment section, but please do it respectfully.

This post is dedicated to those five revolutionary and extraordinary judges sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court that last week didn’t simply made same-sex marriage legal, they upheld its constitutionality. Their ruling which is now the law of the land is an epic point of no return and, at the same time, a dream-come-true for millions of people.

From now on no State will be able not to recognize to two people of the same sex their right to get married. It may seem natural and maybe even obvious to heterosexuals, but the Supreme Court’s ruling constitutes the dawn of a new era where homosexuals and heterosexuals have exactly the same right to marriage.

Tomato and provolone risotto

Tomato and provolone risotto

But that ruling is also the final coronation of a dream that has moved the heart of millions of people for several decades. People who have suffered and fought only to be granted the right to be considered equal to others.

For different reasons, today is considered the birthday of the United States. We think it is so special that the Supreme Court’s decision came out only a week before Independence Day.

A day of celebration of freedom in a country that has shown to be capable of listening to the voice of gay couples that have fought so long and so hard for their basic rights. A day of celebration of freedom in a country whose President has greeted this judicial decision by declaring that “love is love” and “this ruling is a victory for America”. A day of celebration of freedom in a country that has built its traditions and grandiosity on the basic yet fundamental concept that “all men are created equal” with certain unalienable rights such as “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness”.

I know that the Catholic raising of those who write this post should prevent us from feeling joyful for this epochal change, but we believe that respect for any human being and their basic civil rights is more important than any religious belief. We live supporting the simple concept that we are all created equal, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation and that’s the main teaching according to which we are raising Her Majesty.

Today we applaud those five courageous judges and this great country that we are proud to have been calling our home for the last ten years, hoping that other countries (including – shamefully – the one we were born and raised in) will follow suit.

Now, since today is a day of celebration and there cannot be a proper celebration without good food, let’s talk about it.

I served this delicious risotto for the first time three weeks ago to a couple that Stefano and I barely knew, despite their being the parents of Her Majesty’s best friend. I was a little bit nervous because the “She” of this couple is vegetarian and tries to avoid to eat gluten as much as she can, although on that special occasion she was willing to make a “gluten exception” because she thought that my cooking was worth it! 😏

Since I didn’t want her exception to be too big, I decided to make a risotto. 😝
I was lucky enough to put my greedy hands on some super juicy and super good-smelling tomatoes and I knew that I had to make a gorgeous sauce out of them.
The sauce pairs beautifully with the rice and the melted provolone, while parmigiano makes the risotto creamy and even more flavorful.

Tomato and provolone risotto

Tomato and provolone risotto

Ingredients for the tomato sauce:
20 oz, fresh tomatoes
1/2 Cup, chopped red onion
5/6 leaves, fresh basil
2/3 Tbsp, extravirgin olive oil

Ingredients for the risotto:
1/4 cup, chopped white onions
1 Tbsp, butter
7 oz, Arborio rice
1/3 Cup, dry white wine
4 Cups, vegetable stock
2 Tbsp, grated Parmigiano cheese
1/2 Cup, shredded Provolone cheese
1 Tsp, dry oregano (optional)

Directions for the tomato sauce:
Wash the tomatoes under running water. Remove the stem ends, cut them in halves and cut each half in 4 quarters.

In a medium non-stick pot, put the tomatoes, the onions, the basil leaves and some salt (to taste) and cook on a low heat for a couple of hours, stirring often, or until you obtain a sort of tomato mixture (the water from the tomatoes must almost completely evaporate).

Run the tomato mixture into a foodmill, place the tomato sauce back on the low heat and simmer for about 10/15 minutes. Turn off the heat and pour the olive oil on the sauce.

Directions for the risotto:
In a medium-size non-stick pot, put the butter and the chopped onion and cook until the onion softens.

Add the rice and toss to coat for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the wine in and keep stirring until the wine evaporates completely.

Add two ladles of stock and cook, constantly stirring, until the stock is absorbed. When the stock has been absorbed, add another ladle of stock and keep cooking until absorbed, and then repeat the process adding more stock.

About 10 minutes after the first addition of stock, add the tomato sauce.

Keep cooking, constantly stirring, and add the rest of the stock little by little until the rice is creamy and cooked al dente. This will take about 18/20 minutes from the time the first ladle of stock is added. Taste the rice to check if it is necessary to add some salt.

Remove the pot from the heat, add three quarters of the Provolone cheese and the Parmigiano cheese and stir until the cheese is completely melted and you obtain a creamy risotto.

Put the risotto into the serving plates and dust the top of each plate with the rest of the Provolone cheese and, if you like so, some oregano.

We wish you all a glorious 4th of July weekend! πŸ™‚

Francesca Xx

P.S. “She” didn’t say a word about the risotto during the dinner but I must have done something right that night because a few days later – to celebrate an exciting event that is happening right now in my life – she left a beautiful bouquet of flowers on the bench in front of our house. πŸ™‚

Unexpected acts of kindness do not happen to me very often and I think they should be treasured, rewarded and immortalized somehow. That’s why I asked Stefano to make those flowers last forever. Curious enough – or maybe not – the colors of the flowers are those of the Star Spangled Banner – the American flag! 😍

Red, Blue and White flowers

Red, Blue and White flowers


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0 thoughts on “When celebrations are in order: an epochal ruling and a tomato and provolone risotto

  1. Dina

    What a lovely post! <3
    Klausbernd and I made our first risotto earlier this year and now we love it, thank you for this recipe, Francesca. Hope you are all having a great holiday back home.
    Big hug from the four of us,
    Dina x

  2. Tracy Lee Karner

    Love your recipe — I’ve had a tomato-rissotto I thought was quite good, but this sounds so much yummier. And tomato season is approaching!

    You stated your opinion very eloquently — it’s a sad situation, that people behave hatefully toward others, simply because they hold opposing opinions/beliefs. On the other hand, I understand why people, who believe homosexuality is a sin, would feel that a decision to make it legal will have dire consequences.

    But, they forget, the Bible defines all of the following as “sin” — impure thoughts, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, and ‘the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group.’ And it also says, that only those who are without sin of any kind should attempt to punish or denounce anyone else. And, it also says, that anyone who says he is without sin, is a liar (therefore a sinner!). I know my Bible — and I know that those who behave in a hostile manner toward homosexuals are as bad as the people they denounce.

    We’re supposed to all just love one another–be kind, generous, and forgiving. Right?

    I hope you’re having a great July.

  3. Fig & Quince

    I’m late to the celebration party but may I first say: gorgeous gorgeous photography! So cheerfully bold and striking and … HAPPY! I’m also partial your recipe dear Flora. Great post!

  4. Fae's Twist & Tango

    I am raised to believe, and practice, ‘elimination of prejudices of all kinds’.
    These photos are the most beautiful ‘red, white and blue’ I have seen.
    I love risotto. Rice flavored with tomato and topped with provolone, is really yummy! πŸ™‚

  5. Gather and Graze

    So beautifully said, Francesca! I’m hoping that our government will stop their stalling and follow suit before too long as well. Looks like you did a fantastic job of celebrating Independence Day with this fresh, seasonal risotto… stunning flowers and photos too… and I’m just a little bit curious about the exciting event that you’re celebrating in your life right now! I’ll drink a toast to you this evening for whatever it may be! πŸ™‚

  6. Jessamine in PDX

    A lovely dish to help celebrate such a momentous occasion! I love the thought of provolone in a risotto — sounds like a great combo with the tomatoes. We are just starting to see some tomatoes at the Farmers Markets. Mostly just cherry tomatoes, but the big ones can’t be far behind. I’ll be keeping this in mind!

  7. Just Add Attitude

    The risotto looks lovely Francesca as do the flowers. It was thoughtful of you to cook something that minimised the gluten exception. Your Supreme Court’s decision is progress. We had a referendum here in May asking should our constitution be amended to allow same sex marriage, the majority voted yes – a cause for celebration. A belated Happy Independence Day, I hope you are all having a good holiday weekend. πŸ˜‰

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, B.! To be honest with you, it was a bit challenging for me. My cooking is that of my grandmothers’ and mother’s and it doesn’t really take into account the last decade’s diet needs! 😜
      Yes, although Ireland is a country of Catholic tradition, it has been civilized enough to recognize that all human beings have the same basic rights! Ireland 1 – Italy 0!
      Hope your renovations are over – looking forward to seeing the pictures – and that you are having a great summer!
      F. Xx

  8. ladyredspecs

    Good reason to celebrate Francesca, in my eyes all humanity is born equal. Sadly our government in Australia has a different opinion. Risotto is always popular at our dinner table. Happy Independence Day

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, Sandra. Unfortunately, Italy shares your government’s opinion and I think we are still very far from getting any closer to the U.S. ruling. However, hope is always the last to die!

  9. Sabine

    A good risotto is always welcome at our home, and this one even more so since tomatoes are another favorite of ours! No wonder you were offered some flowers! Happy holiday to you in the States, the judgement being another tremendously good reason to celebrate.

  10. apuginthekitchen

    What a beautiful heartfelt post Francesca, The Supreme Court decision is a cause for celebration, a shame it took so long and when I think of those that were treated unequally for all those years it is very sad. Sadly there are still some states that are not accepting this and defying the decision. Now for that risotto, love it, my Mom used to make a tomato risotto and it was one of my favorites, I have saved this, just bought some arborio rice and I will be making it this week. You, Stefano, Her Highness and Sophia have a wonderful holiday!!

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you very much, Suzanne! I’m glad I was able to bring up a childhood memory. I’m sure it won’t be as good as you mom’s but … worth a try!!! 😜
      I knew you would be happy for the ruling. A caring human being with a big heart like yours? Couldn’t have been otherwise! 😍

  11. The Literate Chef

    I love risotto and enjoy making it with many different ingredients. I have to say that the provolone never occurred to me. I must give it a try. I also like your approach to a “simple” tomato sauce. Welcome to the USA and Happy Independence Day to you, Stefano and Her Majesty!

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you so much, Richard! We feel very blessed to live in this wonderful country! Glad you like the provolone suggestion. Let me know what you think!
      F. Xx