You could have a full dinner at narrow hotspot Gia in Trinity Bellwoods and not even realize that everything is meatless. Such is the charm of Jennifer Coburn’s latest, plant-forward restaurant, which replaces her previous spot, Ufficio. High ceilings, exposed white brick, herringbone floors and a constantly packed dining room make for a stylish night out. Unable to land a reservation? Try making chef Francesco Spinelli's risotto al basilico.
Risotto al basilico
- 80g Carnaroli risotto rice
- 1L Vegetable stock
- 200g water
- 1 Lemon zest
- 1 Lime zest
- 50g lemon juice
- 50g lime juice
- 200g basil
- Seasonal vegetables of your choice (in this case we used the following): 3 cherry tomatoes; 1 zucchini, carrot, fennel, broccolini, mushrooms
- 50g unsalted butter or vegan butter
- 30g Parmesan or vegan parmesan
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil to taste
- Marinate the vegetables.
- Prepare a marinade with 200g water, juice and zest of lemon, lime, salt and pepper. Finely slice the vegetables and soak them for 20 minutes.
- Blanch the basil in boiling water for 3 minutes. Then transfer it to cool in ice water. After, drain and blend for 1 minute to create a cream-like texture.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat. Then add the risotto and toast for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt. Little by little, add hot vegetable stock until rice is cooked (15-20 minutes). Continually stir.
Remove from the heat and stir in a tablespoon of butter, parmesan and basil cream, continuously stirring until the risotto is creamy.
- Serve on a large plate and finish with the marinated vegetables
Chef tip: Dehydrated black olives are great to add. Grate them over the risotto for extra flavour. This dish can be entirely vegan with substituted vegan butter.
To drink: Gia's signature cocktail Dundas West: bourbon, averna, campari, and angostura.
Photos: Gia chef Francesco Spinelli's risotto al basilico
© Justine Nelson/Gia