How I made this classic Italian dish in under 15 minutes thanks to a new food service [Toronto Life]


PORTA is bringing seasonal, fresh and premium ingredients with a convenient (and Italian) twist to Ontario

Like just about every Torontonian I know, I love going out to grab a bite; our city is a glorious one to explore and indulge in if you’re a foodie. Italian food, particularly, has a special place in my heart. When my family and I immigrated to Canada, my dad’s first job was working in an Italian restaurant’s kitchen. Every bite of an Italian meal feels just as much like home to me as a colourful array of curries. Needless to say, I was beyond excited to dive into my first PORTA order.

With connections to three iconic restaurant staples in Toronto’s Italian food scene—Terroni, Sud Forno and Spaccio—PORTA is Ontario’s first Italian meal delivery service. Aptly translated to “door” or “carry”, PORTA brings ready-to-cook, restaurant-quality Italian meals to your doorstep without compromising on the depth of flavour and the rich culture and tradition behind every meal. Imagine my surprise when I learned that PORTA’s menu items are handmade by chefs who flash-freeze the food to protect its rich flavours and make storing them that much easier.

Juggling my career, family life, social life, and need to practice self-care meant that I had to figure out how to slow down the speed of life to relish in home-cooked meals—and this is something I value and love to do as often as I can. But with PORTA, I can spend less time stirring and more time savouring my food and the moment: meals are done in under 15 minutes, are incredibly easy to make and serve two.

PORTA recently launched a range of risotto (rice lovers, unite!) made with premium, seasonal ingredients, and it’s safe to say that I am obsessed. A traditional Northern Italian dish from Piemonte, all of PORTA’s risottos are available for $7.50 per serving and are made with Acquerello Rice imported from Italy—a chef favourite that requires less stirring and has a shorter cooking time—and are seasonally themed, featuring porcini mushrooms, roasted squash, and saffron.

Bassano – Risotto ai Funghi 

I was pleasantly surprised by the level of umami jam-packed into the Bassano. This rich and creamy risotto makes use of porcini mushrooms that retain their meaty texture, making for such an impressive dinner considering it took me less than 15 minutes to whip it together. I liked how uncomplicated and easy to appreciate this dish was. Pair it with a lovely white wine of your choice, and thank me later!

Mantova – Risotto alla Zucca

It’s not every day that a convenient, ready-to-cook meal service makes such effective use of seasonal ingredients. As a big lover of the provisions that come hand-in-hand with the fall and winter months, this butternut squash risotto was everything I needed and more on a brisk evening. I enjoyed the little bits of sweetness that the squash brought to the dish as much as its textural addition. Although my family loved this dish with a chardonnay, I preferred pairing it with a nice malbec. Choose your adventure!

Milano – Risotto alla Milanese

Saffron is such a unique spice—it dances delicately on the line separating sweet and savoury and has an unmistakable scent and flavour. I was surprised and delighted with how much I could pick up on these qualities as I was preparing this risotto and when I enjoyed it with loved ones. The Milano is where gold meets the beauty of Italian cooking. Our go-to pairings? A crisp white wine or a stunning glass of rosé.

Currently on PORTA’s ever-growing menu: 8 kinds of pasta, 9 pizzas, four pastries, four desserts, and now, these three unique risottos, all of which bring the taste and smells of Italy right to your kitchen. I had the opportunity to also try (and serve) the Ostia—PORTA’s take on the classic cacio e pepe, the Peppino—a delightful smoky pepperoni pizza and my favourites, the Dolci Assortiti—a four-pack of tiramisu, chocolate mousse, butterscotch budino and panna cotta. Whether you’re treating yourself or your pals and family to a meal, PORTA is a sure way to love dinner time and be the host with the most.

Click here to get 30% off your first PORTA order.