To Stir, or Not to Stir
One of the more fearful aspects of making risotto is that, if you're a purist, you're supposed to stir it constantly for 20 minutes or so while ladling in hot broth a half-cup at a time.

Or are you?
In a new cookbook, Comforting Foods (Macmillan USA; $25), Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse in Berkeley and the grande dame of California cuisine, offers a recipe for risotto that requires almost no stirring, and only two additions of broth. After making your soffritto and toasting the rice in hot oil, you cover the mixture with simmering broth and let it cook for 10 minutes. Then you add the rest of the broth and let it simmer for 10 minutes more. Stirring is not mentioned.

Waters' recipe is on Page 109. On Page 110 is another risotto recipe, this one from Joyce Goldstein of Square One. Her method calls for one-cup additions of stock every five minutes or so for 30 minutes, “stirring occasionally.” That's better than “constantly,” but more than none.

The cookbook itself is a compendium of recipes from celebrated American chefs. It's copyrighted in the name of Project Open Hand (POH), the organization that delivers hot meals to people with AIDS; all royalties will go to POH.

“For many diners, food serves as a background to a business meeting, a family reunion, a romantic adventure,” Goldstein writes in her introduction. “But Project Open Hand's dining public is a different audience, with an urgent agenda. I am happy that we are able to offer nourishment, both culinary and emotional. That is what real cooking is all about.”

Pizza From Hell?
A nameless reader (who has access to an Environmental Protection Agency fax machine: Dish is watching!) dissents from a recent favorable comment on this page about Pizza Inferno. To wit: “This pizza is the worse [sic] pizza I have ever ever tasted in my entire life. … The crust was like cracker and sauce was just the pits.”

Olive pits? Next time, try the pepperoni.

Eat Your E-Mail
Connoisseurs of vicarious pleasure will be pleased to know that Hawthorne Lane, the fabulous (and pricey) restaurant, now has a page on the World Wide Web: It offers, among other things, a guide to seasonal produce, a photographic tour of the restaurant, and “a very small collection” of recipes, as written down by co-owner Anne Gingrass. Planned: a wine column and tips on sausage-making — a passion of David Gingrass, Anne's husband and partner.

By Paul Reidinger

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