Je bois et je mange

Boire et manger literally translates into English as “to drink and to eat,” which made it seem appropriate for my first post from Paris, where I’ve been very happy doing plenty of both. But in Paris, boire et manger can also mean you win some, you lose some. The second meaning also seemed fitting. Notable Paris wins include making friends with the neighborhood baker (a big moment for me), figuring out the basic geography of the city, and having had some real luck so far with the research. Overall, Paris is a wonderful place, and I’m lucky to be making some new friends here (they aren’t all in food production, but that’s ok too). Image

Notable losses include making the first person I met in Paris, the customs agent, hate me (he asked if I spoke French. I replied “oui, et vous?” He was not amused), taking 90 minutes to get to the archive my first day, when it’s about 40 minutes from my apartment, and burning myself pretty seriously the first time I lit the stove. Those moments aside, though, it’s been working out pretty well here. The only thing that hasn’t really come together for me yet is cooking on the regular.

Predictably, French grocery stores have different products than American ones. The things that have stood out to me the most –

-it is close to impossible to buy sliced bacon, but there’s essentially a whole aisle devoted to pre-diced bacon

-tofu is crazy expensive and hard to find (I didn’t realize how much I relied on tofu until I got here)

-there are pre-made cheeseburgers in the meat section. They are terrifying.Image

So I’ve mostly lived off of baguette, cheese, and sausage since I got here when I’m not eating out. I am being 100% serious about that. Yesterday, though, I started to feel like, wow, nutrition would be cool, so I made a risotto for lunch.

I’ve made this before a few times, and my favorite part is that no matter how you play with it/don’t have all the ingredients you need, at the end of the day it’ll still taste good. I adopted this from smitten kitchen, and in my mind it’s a French risotto. Why? You might ask. Because I doubled the wine in it.Image

You’ll need-

-1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

-about 1 tbs olive oil (I like to count to three while I pour olive oil into the pot)

-3/4 of a pound of sausage. SK recommends Italian, I recommend whatever your grocery store sells. Marche Prix only had breakfast sausage, and it was fine. Remove it from the casing beforehand.

-2 cloves garlic, diced

-1 cup Arborio rice

-1 cup white wine (I used Chablis)

-14 ounces washed and roughly chopped spinach

-however much parmesan you like

-basil for garnish YUM

Put the tomatoes in a small pot, along with 3 cups (that’s 1.5 ounces, if you’re curious, and can I just say conversion of EVERYTHING is kicking me around) of water. Let it simmer, stirring occasionally.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan. Add the garlic and let sizzle for a couple minutes. Add the sausage, and let it brown for about 5 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Once the sausage is browned, add the rice, stirring briskly so that it gets coated and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan for 1 minute. Add your wine, and keep stirring until it’s all absorbed, about 2 minutes.Image

Add about 2 cups of your tomato sauce, and lower your heat. Stir slowly until it’s all absorbed, then add about 1 cup more of the tomato sauce. Repeat this for the next 25 minutes or so.

When the risotto is done (you might not use all the tomato sauce), add your spinach and stir for about one minute, then take the pot off the heat. Spoon up, add the appropriate parmesan and basil, and enjoy your leftovers!

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