Driving down Sepulveda Blvd towards LAX, it is easy to not really pay attention to the area around Jefferson Blvd. We are accustomed to seeing large chain business after chain business: from El Pollo Loco, Fed Ex, Big Lots, Pacific Stereo and Just Tires to Buffalo Wings and Pizza, Fast Signs, AAA Pawn and Jewelry and H&R Block. But tucked among all of these rather uninteresting stores is a hidden gem! While other local family businesses have given way to these chain businesses, for 50 years Sorrento Italian Market has been serving the local community with specialty food products and wine from Italy.
The store was opened in 1963 by Alberto Vera and his wife Ursula. Icons in the community, Alberto was the former mayor of Culver City and generations of families grew up going to the store. In 2010 and 2011 respectively, Alberto and Ursula passed away and son Albert Vera Jr. took over the family business.
Making risotto isn't as hard as it seems, but it is as delicious as it looks. Here are some basic steps to make the perfect risotto as taught by my Italian friend. She showed me how easy it is and how anyone can make tasty risotto at home in less than 30 minutes. Start with fresh porcini mushroom. Don't wash them, rather wipe them with a wet towel and clean the outside with a knife.