I like to look back over all I have to be grateful for. It keeps me in a positive frame of mind, and inspires me to rise to new challenges when I take stock of all I have achieved. Last year I was honored with a limited edition bottle of grappa named after me – I’d never have dared to dream of something so lovely in my wildest dreams, but it happened anyway. Thank you to Simini Catering in Turin, Italy who very kindly sent me a case to sample.

Eau de Vie Julie Anne Grappa

I don’t drink alcohol. It’s odd to have your name on something you’ve never tasted before, but I finally found a way. I cooked with it! This week I finally got around to writing, testing, and photographing a recipe using my namesake grappa. Hope you like it! Sign-up here to learn how to apply the Personal Chef Approach™ to your household.

EAU DE VIE JULIE ANNE SEAFOOD RISOTTO

Eau de Vie Julie Anne Seafood Risotto

Of course you could use any brand of grappa (this one is only available in Italy and France) you like, or substitute a dry white wine, although it will give you a different flavor, or just use broth. I had shrimp on hand, but this would also be excellent with any combination of shellfish – I want to try it with a combination of baby cocktail shrimp and scallops next time. Click here for the vegetarian version.

SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup grappa
3 1/2 cups fish, chicken, or vegetable stock or broth
2 large zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup asiago cheese, grated plus more for serving if desired
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, cooked

DIRECTIONS:

1). In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat melt the olive oil and butter together over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2). Meanwhile heat the broth or stock in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

3). Increase heat to medium, add rice, and toast, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add the grappa, and let it cook off the alcohol while reducing for flavor 4-5 minutes. Add the hot stock or broth, 1 cup at a time, until the rice cooks and soaks it up, repeating until the rice is tender and a thickened sauce has naturally occurred. Stir in the zucchini and cheese, and cook 1-2 minutes longer.

4). Remove from heat and stir in the shrimp.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

Serve hot with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread. A true Italian would shirk on serving a seafood pasta or risotto with cheese, but I do like a little extra grated asiago on top of mine.

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