Lady Sensory is not perfect. Lady Sensory made some mistakes in her early twenties. Big ones. Like getting involved with an Italian-immigrant-who-married-a-lesbian-to-get-his-green-card-kind-of-big-ones. Hey, Lady Sensory was young, in grad school, and her mother was dying. The judgement during that timeframe was highly suspect. Cut her some slack. This kind of experience cannot be taught in school. This stuff hails from the school of hard knocks. We all know that Crazy Bob could not possibly be a good influence during this time. Let me tell you a bit about Lady Sensory’s ‘relationship’ with…oh, what shall we call him? How about Giuseppe?
Giuseppe and Lady Sensory met at work. Go ahead, keep right on laughing. Lady Sensory was 22 years old and did not yet understand the concept of, “Not sh*tting where one eats.” Giuseppe headed up the dining services/restaurant at the senior community where Lady Sensory supervised the adult day program. He had dark hair, nice eyes and a sexy Italian accent. He asked Lady Sensory out for a burger (and no, Lady Sensory did not know he was married to the lesbian at the time). Sold. It was one of those whirlwind Libra-Gemini romances with lots of sparks that were very noticeable to the co-workers. Giuseppe came from Rome, was several years older than Lady Sensory, and his father worked in the Fiat factory back in Italy. Yep. Keep on laughing. Giuseppe loved Lady Sensory…or so he said. Giuseppe bought Lady Sensory two dozen long-stemmed roses for her birthday with a card that said, “Hoppy Borthaday” because he couldn’t write it in English. He then criticized the flower arrangement Lady Sensory made because she had to cut the stems to fit in the vases she had at home. Giuseppe seemed to criticize almost every other thing Lady Sensory did: clothes, hair, lipstick, what kind of lotion Lady Sensory used, and what she made in the kitchen.
Lady Sensory was a grad student with an ailing mother and an absent father. Bird’s Eye Chicken Voila, Mrs. T’s Pierogies, and tuna melts were staples. And what’s wrong with that? A good tuna melt is a ‘hug from the inside,’ if you will. In fact, every time Giuseppe called Lady Sensory, a tuna melt was on hand. That was when Giuseppe told Lady Sensory that (insert-a accent here), “One-a day, my mother come-a from Italy and you will learn-a to cook-a sauce-a along-a side-a her.” I’m sorry, dude, but the only woman Lady Sensory wants along-a side-a her in the kitchen is this Pylones grater (below):
Giuseppe wore a lot of jewelry. In fact, he once came to Lady Sensory’s apartment complex pool decked out like an “Every Kiss Begins with Kay” commercial and Lady Sensory asked him if he had enough jewelry on. In addition to gold baubles, like most Italian men, Giuseppe enjoyed sex and would use strange tactics and phrases in an attempt to get some. One conversation went like this:
Giuseppe: “Come on. I know you wanna have-a sex with me.”
Lady Sensory: “Uh, no, not really. I have to write a paper.”
Giuseppe: “Yes, you wanna. Don’t you wanna try it?” Right, Giuseppe. Try it like it’s a tasty dip or something. “Come on. I like-a you special. I know you like-a me special too.”
Lady Sensory was in too deep (yep, she’s-a special, so keep right on laughing) before she found out the dude was shacked-up with his wife, “the lesbian,” her partner and her dog, a German Shepherd. He hated the dog as much as he hated her. Not very nice, considering she was the lady who allowed him to be in this country. Giuseppe ended up leaving for Rome for three weeks around the holidays after telling Lady Sensory she was, “A very difficult girl.” She was convinced it was so he wouldn’t have to buy her a Christmas present. They reconciled for a few more months and he was kind to her during her mother’s passing but it eventually fizzled when Lady Sensory graduated and got a new job. Giuseppe continued to contact Lady Sensory on an annual basis for several years, and one incident resulted in an aggravated harassment charge against his girlfriend at the time who threatened to kill Lady Sensory in a crazy voicemail rage. Giuseppe had only seen Lady Sensory in traffic and called to check in. Yes. The twenties were an interesting decade…which is why it is better to stay away from strange men who like-a you special and wanna just-a have-a sex-a with you. You’d-a be better off-a make-a food in the kitchen for yourself-a; that is, until you find a good man who appreciates a dish as fabulous as you are…something like below.
Lady Sensory’s You Like-a Me Special Risotto alla Milanese
5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
Healthy pinch (about 1/2 tsp) saffron threads. Yeah, guess where I got my Spanish crocus threads?
1 2/3 cup arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine (I used a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc by the name of Arona…and it’s so, so delicious)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a large saucepan, warm stock/broth to a boil, reduce heat and then keep hot by covering and leaving at low temperature. Set aside one cup of hot chicken stock and steep/infuse with the 1/2 tsp saffron. Warm a large pot (I used my 4.5 qt fancy pot), and melt two tablespoons of butter until foamy and then add the finely chopped onion, stirring while cooking. Cook until golden/translucent, which should take about 6-7 minutes over medium heat. Add the arborio (risotto) rice and stir to ensure it’s coated well with butter and onion. This should take about two minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the dry white wine, stirring the rice and cooking until evaporated. Reduce the heat slightly and begin to add the hot stock, about a half-cup at a time, stirring until completely evaporated. I add the cup of saffron infused stock early on to get the color nice and golden and to allow the flavor to release. Once evaporated, add the next half-cup. Keep doing this step (adding a half cup, allowing to cook/evaporate, and adding more) until it’s gone. This process will take about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the remaining tbsp butter and the 1/2 cup of cheese and mix well. Serve and sprinkle with salt (I didn’t need it) and cracked black pepper, if desired, and serve. It’s not that “difficult,” people. Like most things in life that are totally worth it, risotto is all about committment. You have to stand by it and just stir. And stir again. Stir that pot like you really want it. This young lady nailed it here and here. So if she can balance being a medical student and making risotto, then you can certainly handle this.
This is high-end comfort-food. Italians (like Giuseppe) serve this as a first course or to accompany ossobuco (braised veal shank with vegetables).
Now go bask in the golden deliciousness of this risotto and know that you are worth it. You. Like-a yourself. Special.