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One of my favorite chefs is Ina Gartin.  I like her sense of style and her recipes which are easy to follow and always delicious.  I have never had one of her recipes turn out poorly.  I received one of her cookbooks for Christmas and I want to make every recipe because each is so clear and there seems to be an ease of preparation that I think I can do.  I will share a recipe from that book with you later in this post.  It is easy parmesan “risotto” and you do not have to stir!

Here is a little background on Ina that you may not know.  I took this information from Wikipedia.

In Washington, Garten worked in the White House and took business courses at George Washington University, eventually earning an MBA,[7] while her husband worked in the State Department and completed his graduate studies. Originally employed as a low-level government aide, she climbed the political ladder to the Office of Management and Budget and was assigned the position of budget analyst, which entailed writing the nuclear energy budget and policy papers on nuclear centrifuge plants for Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.[8][9]

Strained by the pressures of her work and the serious, high-power setting of Washington, Garten once again turned to cooking and entertaining in her free time, constantly arranging dinner parties and soirées at her home on the weekends. Meanwhile, she was buying, refurbishing, and reselling homes for profit (“flipping“) in the Dupont Circle and Kalorama neighborhoods.[8] The profits from these sales gave Garten the means to make her next purchase, the Barefoot Contessa specialty food store.

Before I read the above info from Wikipedia I did not know that she had been involved with refurbishing homes. Maybe that accounts for the great taste that she displays in her home.

Ina and her husband, Jeffrey, live in a 1770’s home in East Hampton.  It is surrounded by hydrangea and covered with cedar shake shingles….just to die for!  Here is the front of the residence.

…and here is the back.

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For ten years Ina sent a note to the neighbor next door and asked to buy property from him.  Finally, one year he said, “Let’s talk after Christmas.”  They came to terms and she bought the adjoining property and built her barn.  It houses a kitchen and bedrooms, living room….much needed space because she was running out of it! The rooms there are just stunning.  Let’s take a tour. This is what you would see if you walked across the lawn from the main house. The pictures from the barn are from House Beautiful.

Her self described decorating style is “Belgian Country.”

Here is the cupboard that you see in the photo above.  It houses serving dishes and linens.

In this photo the table seems to be round.  In the above photo it is rectangle.

Below is some office space for this busy writer and Food Network star.

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So now that your mouth is watering from looking at this beautiful estate, let me share with you the recipe that I promised.  It is from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten.

Easy Parmesan “risotto” page 160-161

serves 4 to 6

While not technically a classic Italian risotto, this sure is easy.  I found the process for this recipe in a book by Donna Hay, the wonderful cookbook writer from Australia.  I make it with my homemade chicken stock, lots of freshly grated Parmesan, and frozen peas.  Risotto in the oven?  You have to make this to believe it!

1 and 1/2 cups   Arborio rice

5 cups               simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 cup                freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup             dry white wine

3 tablespoons    unslated butter, diced

2 teaspoons       kosher salt

1 teaspoon        freshly ground black pepper

1 cup               frozen peas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente.  Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy.  Add the peas and stir until heted through. Serve hot.

Create and be happy!

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