Photography John Liviero
Eyeing the packets of saffron threads from Italy on the kitchen island, Dante Ussoletti is thrilled to know that his mom’s Risotto Milanese is on the menu that evening. Using the recipe and instructions passed down to Celina by her mother-in-law Dora, “this dish, prepared with love, is a family favourite,” says Art Ussoletti, president of TCI Titan Contracting Inc. Wanting to bring the family together at mealtime, “we built our home ensuring the kitchen and dining area is the focal point,” Art says. “Of course, a sense of togetherness can only be fostered through a common interest.” Everyone’s attention and appetite certainly sharpen when the wonderful aroma of Art’s beef brisket, sizzling in the oven, wafts through the home with daughter Ceana always ready as volunteer taste tester.
BBQ Beef Brisket In The Oven Rub
• 1-½ tbs packed light brown sugar
• 1-½ tbs paprika
• 2 tsp dry mustard
• 2 tsp ground black pepper
• 2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 (4-5 lbs) brisket roast – if there is a thick layer of fat, trim it down to 1/4 inch
• 1 lb bacon
• Reserved bacon from cooked brisket
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup cider vinegar
• 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
• 1-2 cups chicken broth
• 1/2 cup ketchup
• 4 tsp canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1. Make the rub. Mix all ingredients well in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Place oven rack in upper-middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Rub dry rub all over brisket and poke holes all over with a fork. Place half of bacon going crosswise in a broiler safe 9” by 13” pan (do not use glass pan). Put brisket fat side down on top of bacon. Lay the rest of bacon crosswise on top of brisket, wrapping it down and around the sides and tucking any excess under. Cover pan with foil and place in oven for 4 hours.
3. Take pan out of oven. Carefully flip brisket over, fat side up. Replace foil and return to oven. Turn off heat and leave brisket in oven 1 additional hour.
4. Pour accumulated juices from brisket into large measuring cup or a bowl. Remove bacon from brisket and chop into pieces. Cook bacon in medium saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until fat has rendered. Add onion and cook until softened, 4-5 minutes. Take off heat and add vinegar and dark brown sugar. Return to heat and simmer until reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 5 minutes.
5. Skim fat from accumulated juices and add chicken broth to make a total of 3 cups. Add to mixture in saucepan and reduce to about 3 cups in volume, 8-10 minutes. Take off heat and add ketchup. Mix well and strain if desired. (I like to strain out about half the solid pieces and leave the rest). Add chipotle peppers.
6. Turn oven to broil. Brush brisket with 1- cup sauce and broil until top is lightly browned and fat starts to crisp. Cut brisket against the grain into 1/4-inch slices and serve with extra sauce.
Risotto alla Milanese
• 2 cups Aborio Italian rice
• 1 medium onion, finely chopped
• ½ stick unsalted butter
• 1 cup white wine
• 6 cups homemade vegetable broth (more as needed)
• 1-2 packets of saffron threads
• 1 packet creamy bouillon broth
• 1 cup finely grated parmesan • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms (optional)
1. In a heavy-based saucepan large enough to hold the rice with plenty of room left over, cook the onion in butter over medium heat approximately 5 minutes. Add fresh sliced mushrooms (optional), stir for 2-3 minutes.
2. Stir in rice and cook over medium heat for approximately 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of broth and the wine. Turn the heat to high until the broth comes to a simmer and then adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Add saffron threads.
3. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue to add more broth while cooking and stirring, adding broth until the rice is al dente but cooked.
4. When the rice is ready, stir in the parmesan cheese. Add a little more broth to give the risotto the consistency you prefer. Season with salt and pepper and serve promptly.