Saturday, April 04, 2009

Spring Herb Risotto

My husband did an awesome job with our backyard, but I think my favorite part (besides the cob-oven) are all the herbs and fruit and vegetable plants he planted. So far, the grape vines, fig trees, citrus and persimmon trees and tomatoes still have a ways to go, but the herbs are going nuts out there. We have the most fragrant mint, gorgeous parsley and fresh oregano. The lettuces, basil, tarragon and chives are still babies, but I'm sure they'll be ready in another month or so.

Anyway, I borrowed a book from Lindsey over a year ago (I think she forgot I have it), called "A Handful of Herbs: Gardening, Cooking and Decorating." In it, it has great tips on herb gardening, and it also has some pretty good recipes. This herb risotto is right out of the book. This was probably my best risotto EVER! It was creamy, yet just slightly al dente, and the fresh herbs from my garden made such a big difference. I halved the recipe below, but it still made enough risotto for 2 to 3 people.

Happy gardening!

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 to 6)

  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped mixed herbs, such as chervil, chives, mint, parsley and tarragon (I used a mixture of chives, mint and parsley)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small leeks, well washed, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine (I used a pinot grigio)
  • 1/4 cup Mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the 5 cups of vegetable stock in a saucepan and heat to a rolling boil (if you have any extra herbs, add them to the stock just to give it that extra herbaceous flavor) then lower heat to low to keep stock warm.

Add the oil to a large pan with high sides and heat on medium. Add the onion, garlic, leeks and a pinch of salt and slowly fry for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir the mixture over the heat for 1 minute until all grains are coated with oil and glossy. Pour in the wine and boil until almost totally evaporated.

Now add 1 large ladle full of the warmed vegetable stock and simmer; stir until stock is absorbed before adding more stock. Repeat this process until stock has been used and rice is tender but firm (this will take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes).

Stir in the spinach, herbs, Parmesan and Mascarpone cheese and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if needed. Cover the pan and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese.

1 comment:

LindseyA said...

ummmm, yep. never knew I even had that book!