We are by no means with out butter at residence, as important to us as dried oregano, garlic, tomato sauce, capers and olive oil. My spouse has been recognized to soften a pat of Jersey butter for flapjacks, and my youngsters eat it like cheese on the infinite rounds of toast they clamour for every morning. On a regular basis luxurious.

Butter is a staple of northern Italian cooking, used far more than within the south. Traditionally the fats of selection for the rich, its wealthy, mellow sweetness is within the elevated tremendous pasta served with white truffles, and likewise essential in risotto. What’s poetically described by Elizabeth David as “a walnut of butter”, added in the direction of the tip of one thing home-cooked with on a regular basis substances, makes it the hug one wants at the moment of yr.

Pollo alla cacciatore

An Italian traditional, this may be heaped on a mattress of marigold-yellow polenta – a chance for extra lashings of butter. It will additionally work properly with greens and bread on the desk to mop up the juices.
Serves 4

rooster 1, small (roughly 1 kg)
butter 90g
celery with leaves 3 sticks
leek 1, massive
garlic 2 cloves
inexperienced olives 12
rosemary 3 sprigs
bay 4 leaves
passata 200ml
white wine 250ml
salt and black pepper

Utilizing a great knife or scissors, reduce the spine out of the rooster. Flip it the other way up and reduce the rooster in 2 between the breasts. Take away the wings and thighs and separate them from the drumsticks. Minimize every breast in 2. (Alternatively, ask your butcher to joint the rooster for you.) Season with salt and black pepper.

Soften the butter over a medium-high warmth in a large, lidded pan. When it’s foaming, add the rooster, pores and skin aspect down. Fry, gently crackling, for 8 minutes, turning on occasion till golden brown. Whereas that is taking place, chop the celery and leek into 2cm items. Peel after which add the garlic with the olives into the crackling butter in an area between the rooster. Fry for an extra minute or 2.

Add the herbs and greens and blend them by – the butter will quieten down at this level. After 3 minutes, add the moist substances, incorporate and canopy. Prepare dinner over a medium low warmth for 35 minutes, turning and basting midway by.

Porcini and saffron risotto

Deep and rich in flavour: porcini and saffron risotto.
Deep and wealthy in flavour: porcini and saffron risotto. {Photograph}: Romas Foord/The Observer

There’s a sturdy argument that porcini make the perfect risotto. The luxurious lick of saffron, together with butter and parmesan, highlights their depth of flavour. Use powdered saffron if you happen to like or omit it altogether if you happen to don’t have any.
Serves 6

dried porcini 15g
saffron threads a pinch
celery with leaves ¼ of a head
crimson onion 1, small
garlic 1 clove
butter 80g
olive oil
risotto rice 400g
white wine 1 massive glass
inventory 1.5 litres (rooster, meat or vegetable)
parmesan 60g, grated
salt and pepper

Soak the porcini in a cup of boiling water and, individually, the saffron in a few tablespoons. Reserving any leaves, finely chop the celery together with the onion and garlic. Heat the inventory.

Soften half the butter with just a little olive oil in a saucepan and sweat the greens with a pinch of salt over a medium warmth till smooth. Reserving the water, drain and chop the porcini and add to the pan. After 3 minutes, add the rice and proceed to softly fry, stirring for a minute or so till all of the grains are scorching. Flip the warmth up, add the saffron in its water and all of the wine. Stir properly because the wine evaporates. As soon as the liquid has evaporated, add the mushroom water, persevering with to stir. Now it’s time for the inventory. Add ladle by ladle, stirring and permitting for the final ladle to be absorbed earlier than including the following.

Proceed cooking till the rice is to your liking. Barely al dente is finest. The entire course of ought to take about 25 minutes. Flip off the warmth. Verify the seasoning. Full it by stirring in the remainder of the butter, parmesan and chopped celery leaves. Cowl and permit the shiny rice to relaxation for two minutes earlier than serving.

Celeriac, fennel and squash

A comforting braise: celeriac, fennel and squash.
A comforting braise: celeriac, fennel and squash. {Photograph}: Romas Foord/The Observer

A barely aniseedy, comforting mixture of braised autumn greens. This works as properly with a savoury centrepiece because it does because the centrepiece itself.
Serves 4

fennel 3 bulbs (about 500g)
celeriac 350g
winter squash 300g
garlic 5 cloves
butter 50g
parsley or marjoram ½ a bunch
crimson wine vinegar ½ tbsp
sea salt and black pepper

Minimize the fennel into 3cm wedges. Peel the celeriac and winter squash and reduce each into 2cm slices. Peel and reduce every garlic in half.

Soften the beneficiant quantity of butter in a large pan over a medium-high warmth. Transfer the pan because it melts and permit the butter to vary color to a light-weight caramel earlier than including the fennel and garlic. Flip the warmth all the way down to medium and stir regularly for round 4 minutes, in order that the greens flip a fair gold. Then add the celeriac and cook dinner for an additional 5 minutes, persevering with to maneuver on occasion to keep away from the greens scorching.

Add the squash and a splash of water, flip the warmth to medium-low and put the lid on. After 5 minutes’ cooking, add half of the herbs, checking to see if the pan has dried and desires one other splash of water.

Proceed this course of, checking for dryness and turning every now and then, for half-hour. Be light once you flip the greens. The pan must be saved steamy slightly than too moist. When completed, season, add a flick of crimson wine vinegar and the remaining herbs.

Bread, butter, pears and brandy pudding

Popular pudding: bread, butter, pears and brandy pudding.
Fashionable pudding: bread, butter, pears and brandy pudding. {Photograph}: Romas Foord/The Observer

My mom, an expatriate in Italy, has at all times taken enjoyment of how widespread English puddings are together with her Italian supper friends, so I took a particular delight in serving this to an Italian home visitor and getting her stamp of approval. Serves 6

pears 4
butter 2 tbsp
smooth brown sugar 2 tbsp
brandy 50ml
sourdough bread 7 slices, ideally stale
butter 80g
milk 250ml
double cream 250ml
vanilla pod 1, break up
egg yolks 4
golden caster sugar 50g
butter 2 tbsp

Peel, halve and core the pears. Then soften 2 tbsp of butter over a medium-high warmth in a large, shallow pan. Add the pears reduce aspect down. Fry for five minutes till golden in locations, then flip, fry for an extra 2 minutes, earlier than including the smooth brown sugar, turning off the warmth, after which including the brandy. Flip every thing so the sugar melts into the brandy, making a sauce within the residual warmth of the pan.

Warmth the oven to 180C/fuel mark 4.

Butter the bread. Alternate bread and butter after which pears to fill a baking dish. Warmth the milk and cream with the vanilla. Whisk the yolks with the caster sugar till pale after which whisk the new milk and cream into them. Use it to cowl the bread and pears, including the juice from the pear sauce on high. Set the pudding dish apart for 20 minutes.

Put the dish into one other barely bigger one and encompass the dish with scorching water to make a bain-marie. Bake for 40 minutes and serve with a jug of excellent cream on the desk.

Joe Trivelli is joint government chef on the River Café in west London