Spring Risotto, 3 Ways
Spring Vegetable Risotto with Asparagus, Peas, Artichokes, Lemon “Straw and Hay” Risotto: Spinach, Prosciutto & Parmesan Farro Risotto with Wild Mushrooms & Arugula Pesto
Spring Vegetable Risotto
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer or side dish
- 6 1/2 cups (about) chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, small dice
- 1 medium leek (white part only), sliced crosswise into thin rings
- 2 stalks green garlic, chopped, or 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups arborio rice or carnaroli rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup 1-inch pieces thin asparagus
- 1 cup freshly shelled small peas or petite frozen peas (about 1/4 pound)
- Steamed fresh artichoke hearts (recipe attached)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
- ½ lemon, zested and juiced
Bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan. Cover; keep warm over low heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, leek, and garlic.
Sauté until wilted and almost tender, about 6 minutes. Add rice; stir until rice is translucent at edges but still opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Add wine; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 1 minute.
Add broth 1 cup at a time until rice is about half cooked, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next and stirring often, about 9 minutes.
Stir in asparagus, peas (if using fresh), artichoke hearts, and parsley. Continue adding broth by cupfuls and stirring until rice is almost tender, about 6 minutes longer.
Add peas (if using frozen). Cook until rice is tender but still firm to bite and mixture is creamy, about 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Add 3/4 cup cheese, lemon zest and juice and 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until cheese and butter melt. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
How to Cut and Cook an Artichoke
- 1 or more large globe artichokes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 slice of lemon
- Cut of the tips of the petals: If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the petals, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the petals. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.
- Slice off the top of the artichoke: Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke. A serrated bread knife works great for this.
- Remove small petals at the base: Pull off any smaller petals towards the base and on the stem.
- Cut off excess stem: Cut off excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them.Alternatively you can leave the whole long stem on the artichoke, just cut off the very end of the stem, and peel the tough outside layer of the stem with a vegetable peeler.
- Rinse the artichokes: Rinse the artichokes in running cold water. While you rinse them, open up the petals a little so that the water does get inside more easily. (This is where it helps to have cut off the thorny tips, it makes the artichoke easier to open without getting poked!)
- Set up a pot with some water, aromatics, and a steaming basket: In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf. Insert a steaming basket.
- Steam the artichokes: Place artichokes on top of the steaming basket. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.
Pull off outer petals, one at a time.
Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.
Continue until all of the petals are removed.
With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into bite sized pieces.
Straw & Hay Risotto
Serves 6 as a side dish.
- 2 cups shelled fresh fava beans or peas (from about 2 lb. pods)
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic
- 6 large eggs
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large leeks, whites and pale greens only, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, julienne
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 cups arborio rice, carnaroli rice, or vialone nano rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 bunch flat-leaf spinach, trimmed, leaves torn
- 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan (about 3 ounces) plus more for shaving
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives plus more for serving
- 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chiffonade
- Freshly ground black pepper
If using fresh fava beans, cook in a large saucepan of boiling salted water 1 minute. Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water and let cool. Peel favas and transfer to a small bowl.
Bring a large skillet of salted water to a bare simmer over medium-low heat. Add vinegar. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl, then slide into simmering water. Repeat with 2 more eggs. Cook until whites are cooked but yolks are runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water. Repeat with remaining 3 eggs.
Bring broth to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and keep warm.
Heat oil and remaining 1 tablespoon butter in same pot over medium heat. Add leeks, fennel, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated, about 4 minutes.
Add 1 cup broth. Cook, stirring often (no need to stir constantly), until broth is almost absorbed. Add remaining broth by cupfuls, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more, stirring often, until rice is tender but still firm to the bite and mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total.
Add spinach, 1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino, 1/4 cup chives, and reserved fava beans to risotto. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted and cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Season risotto with salt.
A few minutes before risotto is done, reheat poached eggs in a large skillet of simmering water, about 1 minute.
Divide risotto among bowls and top with eggs, proscuitto, shaved Pecorino, chives, and pepper.
Leek and Mushroom Farro Risotto
Serves 4-6 as a side dish.
- 1 cup farro
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 pound assorted mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster and creminis, stems trimmed and mushrooms quartered
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of butter, divided
- 5 to 6 cups of chicken broth or mushroom stock
- 1 leek, halved, washed thoroughly and sliced into thin rings 2 garlic cloves, minced ½ cup white wine 2 ounces fresh goat cheese<
Combine farro and boiling water in a saucepot. Cover and soak for a half hour, then drain off liquid well.
In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add the oil and 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter foams, add the leeks and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add drained farro, stirring to coat the grains in the oil and aromatics. Add the wine and deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until the pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes.
Using a ladle, add about 1 cup of the hot broth to the rice, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Add additional broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly, only after the previous addition of broth is absorbed. After about 15 minutes, add the roasted mushrooms.
Cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring, to meld the flavors and heat the mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Risotto is done when the rice is plump and tender. Remove from heat and add the remaining butter and goat cheese. It should gently flow when ladled into a serving bowl. Swirl arugula pesto on top for garnish.
Yield 2 Cups
- 4 cups packed fresh arugula
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup pure olive oil
- 2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Blend Until Smooth
Chef Cody Castiglia, Della Terra