We are happy to welcome Aldo Zilli to the lastminute.com blog for a fabulous double whammy – a Question & Answer session and a great recipe for you to try at home.
If you don’t know already, Aldo is the Italian celebrity chef who has really put his country’s cuisine, or in fact his region Abruzzo, on the map in Soho. He has several great Zilli restaurants there.
Zilli Fish; this highly popular fish restaurant, offers stunning selection of seafood and pasta. Located in Soho, the heart of London and surrounded by theatres, it is the perfect destination for a pre or post show dinner or after a long day of shopping. Signor Zilli is a Soho institution, having celebrated its twentieth anniversary this year. Boasting a stylish interior and downstairs private dining room it has stood the test of time. Zilli Café leads the trend for all-in-one food outlets. Situated next door to Zilli Fish on Brewer Street, Aldo’s latest venture is a food emporium with the majority of products being supplied from Aldo’s home region of Abruzzo.
Q What’s your favourite good stuff?
A I like playing football in the park with my son Rocco, going to the gym and horse riding when I get a chance
Q What do you cook at home?
A We always have lots of fresh food in the house for the children, i.e. pasta, fish, vegetables and a good prawn curry for my wife
Q What is your favourite dish?
A Squid & chorizo stew
Q Who are you customers – anyone we might know?
A We have a big variety from Mary J Blige to Paul McCartney to families
Q Is there any chance we’d meet you if we dropped by for lunch?
A Yes, I am always in my restaurants during the day
Q Where would we find your restaurants?
A I have four restaurants in Soho, Signor Zilli Bar, Signor Zilli Restaurant, Zilli Fish and Zilli Cafe
Q How would you describe the ambience?
A Lots of fun with great tasty food
Q What’s your favourite meal; breakfast, lunch or dinner and what do you prepare?
A Breakfast is my favourite meal, I normally have Optivita with lots of fruit, lunch is normally roast fish with vegetables and dinner a light soup
Q What’s on the menu this season?
A Lots of mushrooms, mackerel and lobsters
Q Will you be doing a special Christmas menu?
A Yes, we always do a Christmas menu and it has to include turkey
Q How did you get started as a chef?
A I started with my Mamma when I was 8 and went from there….
Q We’d love to get some cooking tips, can you share a recipe with us please?
A Best recipe for this season is wild mushroom & truffle oil risotto…
Wild Mushroom Risotto
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
60g (1 1/2oz) butter
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
450g (1lb) mushrooms (Portobello, chestnut, button, oyster) cleaned and sliced
300g (11oz) Risotto Rice
1 fresh sprig rosemary, stalk discard and finely chopped
150ml (5fl oz) dry white wine
1.5 litres (2 1/2 pints) hot vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese shaving to serve
Make the risotto. Place 50g (2oz) butter in a large pan and add the onions. Cover with damp greaseproof paper (touching the onions), cover with a lid and cook (sweat) the onions for 5 minutes until soft but not discoloured. Stir the mushrooms into the onions with the rice and rosemary. Cook for two minutes then stir in the wine and cook until the wine is absorbed. Gradually add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring and adding more stock as each addition is absorbed. This should take about 30-40 minutes.
Stir the chives and remaining butter into the risotto and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, drizzle in some truffle oil. Serve with parmesan cheese shavings and extra freshly ground black pepper.
Thanks Aldo – I’ll definitely be trying out this recipe.