Frankly, I can’t believe this is my first risotto posting. I would imagine that most dedicated home cooks have one or two signature dishes, recipes that they gradually hone over time and in which they take great pride. Risotto is absolutely my signature dish. It’s my go-to comfort food as well as a favorite stand-by when entertaining.
What makes risotto so glorious? In my world, the basic ingredients in risotto – olive oil, arborio rice, yellow onion, white wine, chicken broth and Parmigiano-Reggiano – are everyday pantry staples.
All I need to do, then, is add flavorful seasonal ingredients for a fresh take on an old favorite. I love the toothy feel of arborio rice, the creamy texture without heavy ingredients, the smell of the white wine cooking off the sautéed onions and rice.
I also love the physical process of making risotto. If you’ve never made it before, risotto requires about 30 minutes of constant stirring as you gradually incorporate the chicken broth into the rice. Ergo, you have to do all of your mise en place, or ingredient prep, before you start cooking. Once onions and veggies are chopped, broth is simmering and cheese is grated, you’re free to stand at the stovetop, slowly ladling and stirring and drinking a glass of white wine or champagne, which is required for truly tasty risotto. I absolutely adore being “stuck” at the stove for 30 minutes, watching this satisfying dish come together.
Risotto is that magical combination of nourishing and healthy yet rich tasting and sumptuous. One of my all-time absolute favorites. Yum! Oh, and it’s even good cold, eaten straight from the container standing in front of the fridge. Or so I’ve been told.
For this spring risotto, I used the most wonderful, lovely and crisp fresh pea shoots from our organic farm share. We also had green garlic from the farm, which is widely available in spring and is simply garlic that hasn’t fully matured yet. Feel free to substitute yellow onion.
And please, promise me that when you make this, you'll stand right over the pot as you pour in the first splash of white wine. The smell of the wine blending with the rice, olive oil and onion is incredible! One of my favorite sensory experiences in the world.
Risotto with Pea Shoots and Green Garlic
4 cups organic chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup green garlic or yellow onion, diced
1½ cups Arborio rice (about 10 ounces)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups pea shoots, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
To start the risotto, bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low; keep warm.
Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.
Add rice and stir 2 minutes. Add half of the wine; reduce heat to medium low.
Simmer lightly until wine is absorbed, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add remaining wine and simmer until absorbed, stirring constantly, another minute or two.
Add ½ cup of hot broth; simmer until broth is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue adding broth, ½ cup at a time, until rice is tender but still slightly firm in the center and mixture is creamy, simmering until broth is absorbed before each addition and stirring often, about 20 minutes.
Tip: If you draw your spoon across the bottom of the pan and can see a “trail” for a second or so before it’s covered by rice, then it’s time to add more broth.
Add optional ingredients and Parmesan cheese if desired and stir. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
For this recipe, I added about 2 cups of roughly chopped fresh pea shoots, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice.
Adapted from content initially published by Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics.