Rain was falling when my kids got on the bus today. It was sleeting when I ran to my son’s school this morning to drop off his forgotten lunch. By the time I went for a morning coffee at Giacomo’s in Downtown Bangor, it was beginning to snow. And now, as I type this, the snow is floating down and covering our city.
Could winter — the snowy, white, cold season I expect from Maine — finally be here (although it technically doesn’t arrive until next week, we all know it starts when the temperature dips and the white stuff blankets the land)?
I sure am hoping the answer is yes. My kids — Will is 10 and Paige is 8 — are really hoping for a white Christmas. Heck, I am too.
With the snow and colder weather comes a change in cuisine in our house. Cool, lean salads are replaced with warm vegetable dishes. The fare becomes a little heartier. It’s time for warm dinners, comforting recipes and meals shared with loved ones.
This is a dish perfect for sharing. Arborio rice is slowly cooked with wine and chicken stock until its creamy and tender. Dotted with sweet sauteed onions, vibrant fresh basil and tasty peas, it’s a hearty dish perfect for serving with roasted chicken. You might want to add a salad too — or perhaps roasted veggies instead.
And then linger. Make this slowly, enjoy it slowly and share special moments with the most special people in your lives. You won’t ever regret that time. It’s important.
Now, dear readers, I have something to share: A change is coming to this column, Maine Course.
Longtime readers will remember the recipe I am sharing here. In July 2014, we first published a version of this. It was the first illustrated Maine Course column, and remains very special to me — both because of it being the premiere illustration and it being one of my favorite dishes. This is comfort food for me, both in its preparation and flavoring.
Today I am resharing it, slightly updated to better align with what’s available for cooking in December, in sort of a full-circle moment. This marks the final illustrated Maine Course column
Artist Eric Zelz has decided to move on and pursue other opportunities. While the column will continue — in words and recipes — it will no longer be accompanied by Eric’s whimsical, lovely artwork. Please join me in thanking Eric for all his work in creating this weekly food feature. May his next act be filled with all the things his heart desires.