Spring is finally here, which means it is officially time to put away the warming stews and sturdy French red wines and time embrace the light, delicious flavours of the Mediterranean. The best thing about the celebrated cuisines of Greece, Spain, Italy and – of course – Southern France is that they are healthy by nature!
Bel Canto’s Executive Chef Gilles’ new Spring menu gives his London customers a taste of the Mediterranean. The dish that, perhaps, displays the magical combination of utter deliciousness and healthiness most acutely is his Fregola Risotto. Not only does it enjoy the health benefits of being completely vegetarian, it is a bonanza of spring flavours, colours and aroma inspired by the cuisine of the Italian island of Sardinia (which, incidentally, enjoys one of Europe’s highest life expectancies). It contains roasted Mediterranean vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes and spring onions, a combination that creates a unique and refreshing flavour that also contributes to your ‘5-a-day’ recommended fruit and vegetable consumption.
When creating this dish, Chef Gilles, felt that it needed something extra, a twist, and that’s when he decided to add green pea coulis. Pea coulis is a delicious accompaniment to fregola, and an elegant sauce that bursts with flavour. To finish it off, a Parmesan crisp is added to the dish for decoration and for that extra salty hint. Light, refreshing and flavoursome our Fregola Risotto is a great option for a light spring main course dish.
But surely something so delicious couldn’t come with a host of health benefits... or could it? Well, we can tell you that it certainly does!
Natural foods like seasonal fruits and vegetables, yogurt and other probiotic foods, can help you fight mood disorders and build a healthy gut. Mediterranean vegetables have plenty of monounsaturated fats. They are also rich in vitamin Omega 3 which is associated with the protection against heart diseases.
Green peas are rich in vitamin K, manganese and dietary fiber. They can also help in the prevention of stomach cancer, because they contain high amounts of a health-protective polyphenol called coumestrol.
Fregola contains a dietary fiber that can improve digestion and maintain blood sugar. It is also rich in protein as one serving contains 6 grams of it.
If you are planning to start a Mediterranean diet or if you are just looking for a healthy, refreshing spring meal, our risotto style Fregola is a great starting point!