The dog likes looking for sticks in the garlic…
Carla tweeted me risotto notes the other day on Twitter and has inspired me to make a spring risotto with our wild greens :-
a Wild Green Spring Risotto
- 75 – 100 grams of carnaroli rice per person.
- One dog bag stuffed with fresh nettle tops – they don’t weigh very much but they shrink a bit like spinach so aim for maybe 150 grams or so for two people.
- To prepare: Wash well, remove any bits of grass or twigs! Steam in a little water till they have gone a darker shade of green and look cooked. Drain, chop coarsely and reserve.
- As many wild garlic leaves and flowers as you fancy, I used about a dozen big leaves and a few flower heads, chopped into shreds.
- A good knob of butter
- A medium sized onion, chopped into small pieces
- Chicken or vegetable stock – kept at a gentle simmer in a separate pan. If you run out just top up with boiled water as you go along. I usually keep about a litre of liquid going while I make this but often don’t use it all.
- 2 dessertspoons of cream cheese, mascarpone if you have it, I used a branded cream cheese
- Grated Parmesan or another strongly flavoured hard cheese, ideally Italian.
- 200 g of baby broad beans, if you have fresh ones, wonderful, but I used frozen ones this time. If you have the patience pop the skins off them as they will look prettier but I didn’t. You could use peas or anything else that takes your fancy, just keep it young and green.
- Sweat your onions gently in melted butter or oil or a bit of both for a few minutes, you don’t want them to colour but you do want them to soften a little.
- Add half your steamed and chopped nettles. Add rice according to how much you want to make and how greedy you are. Add some of the chopped garlic and turn everything over so it is well coated in butter and the pan is hot. Once everything looks well coated, start adding the simmering stock, a little at a time, keep stirring gently and constantly. As the stock is absorbed add more.
- After about ten minutes, add the broad beans and the rest of the nettles and garlic. Keep stirring. Remember to keep the heat low, you don’t want your risotto to boil while you are cooking it or to burn.
- You can also add a big dollop of cream cheese at this point and make sure it all gets mixed in well.
- Keep stirring and taste the risotto as you go along, season with salt and pepper to taste – the rice should be a little al dente, with a slight hard core, when you serve it but again it is all according to taste. Mine took about twenty minutes of stirring all together, from when I started adding the stock.
- Just before you serve you can beat in additional butter, grated parmesan or more cream cheese, then top your plate with some finely chopped flat parsley and garlic flowers!