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Recipes Inspired By Venice To Spread The Love

Love is in the air, whether you like it or not. Take your cue from the dreamy city of Venice this month with decadent pastas and risottos that were made for sharing.  

Baccalà mantecato (Whipped salted fish spread)
Serves 2 • Total Time 25–30 Min  

Haddock 500g
Garlic, chopped 3 cloves
Olive oil 1 cup
Potatoes, cooked and grated
2  Sour cream or yoghurt 1/2 cup
Lemon, zested and juiced 1
Fresh parsley, chopped 2 tbsp
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Spring onion for serving
Chilli flakes for serving


  1. Place the haddock in a colander over a pot of simmering water and steam for 6–8 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside to cool. 
  2. Add the fish to a large mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Whip at low speed for a few minutes until the fish has flaked. 
  3. With the mixer still running, add the garlic and half the oil in a steady thin stream. 
  4. Add the potatoes and continue to mix at a low speed while adding the remaining oil. 
  5. Whip the mixture on high speed until light and fluffy. 
  6. Fold through the sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley. 
  7. Season to taste, garnish with spring onion and chilli flakes and serve with crusty bread. 

Top tip: Swap out olive oil and sour cream for canola oil and plain yoghurt.  

Arancini with bacon
Makes 10–12 • Total Time 45 Min  

Cooked risotto (see page 23 of the February MyKitchen issue), cooled 2 cups
Mozzarella or cheddar, grated 1 cup
Bacon bits, cooked until crispy 1 packet
Fresh basil, chopped 2 tbsp
Breadcrumbs 2 cups
Flour 1 cup
Eggs, whisked 2
Vegetable oil for frying


  1. In a large bowl, combine the risotto, cheese, bacon and basil. 
  2. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place onto a lined baking tray. Chill for 30 minutes. 
  3. Place the breadcrumbs, flour and eggs each into separate bowls. 
  4. Coat each risotto ball in the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs respectively. 
  5. Heat oil in a large pot. 
  6. Deep fry the risotto balls in batches for about 4–6 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towel. Serve while hot. 

Top tip: Any hard cheese, like mature cheddar or Gruyère, can replace Parmesan.  

Fresh herb and mushroom risotto
Serves 2 • Total Time 40 Min 

Olive oil or canola oil 1/4 cup
Exotic mushrooms 1 punnet
Portobello or button mushrooms, sliced 1 punnet
Butter 3 tbsp
Onion, chopped 1
Garlic, chopped 3 cloves
Fresh sage handful (or any other fresh herb such as thyme, parsley, rosemary and basil)
Arborio rice 2 cups
White wine ¼ cup (optional)
Vegetable stock 1L
Cream 1/2 cup
Fresh thyme 2 tbsp
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Parmesan, grated 1/4 cup

Top tip: Make a big batch! Risotto balls freeze well (without the crumb).  


  1. Place a pot over high heat and add half the oil. 
  2. Fry the exotic mushrooms for 4–5 minutes until lightly golden. Remove and set aside. 
  3. Add the remaining mushrooms and cook for about 6–8 minutes. Remove and set aside. 
  4. Turn down the heat to medium and add the remaining oil and butter. 
  5. Add the onion and fry for about 3 minutes or until translucent. 
  6. Add the garlic and herbs. Cook for a further 3–5 minutes or until the onions are lightly golden. 
  7. Remove the herbs and discard. 
  8. Add the rice and toast for 2–3 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  9. Pour in the wine (if using) and cook for 5–6 minutes. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. 
  10. Add a cup of stock and cook over a low heat, for about 8–10 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed. 
  11. Repeat with the remaining stock and stir constantly between cupful’s. 
  12. Once rice has cooked, stir through the cream, mushrooms and thyme. Season well. 
  13. Remove from heat and stir through the Parmesan. 

Top tip: Can’t find exotic or portobello mushroom? Button mushrooms work just as well!  

Scampi alla busara (Prawns in tomato and chilli sauce)
Serves 2 • Total Time 30-35 Min


Olive oil 3 tbsp
Onion, chopped 2
Garlic, chopped 3 cloves
Prawns, defrosted and deveined 6–8
White wine 1 cup (optional)
Tomato paste 1 tbsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Chopped tomatoes 1 can
Red chilli, deseeded and chopped 1
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped handful
Lemon, zested 1
Chilli flakes pinch


  1. Place a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the oil. 
  2. Fry the onion and garlic for 3–5 minutes or until lightly golden. 
  3. Add the prawns and fry for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. 
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine (if using) and stir to remove any burnt bits. 
  5. Simmer until the liquid reduces by 2/3. 
  6. Remove the prawns and set aside. 
  7. Add the tomato paste and sugar. Cook for 2–3 minutes. 
  8. Add the tomatoes and chilli. 
  9. Simmer gently, while covered, for about 10–15 minutes. Season well. 
  10. Add the prawns back to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce. 
  11. Heat through for 2–3 minutes and stir through the parsley, lemon zest and chilli flakes. 12. Serve on top of linguini, spaghetti or with crusty bread. 

Top tip: Swap out prawns the for frozen marinara mix. Chicken fillets work well in this dish too. 

Words: Chad January
Photographs: Zhann Solomons

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