Spring Risotto with Green Garlic and Mushrooms

Oh, guys. Its spraaaang time! Hurray! I just got my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share from a local farm, and it’s got some delicious shit in it. Carrots, radishes, lettuces, lots of early spring stuff. There was something in it I’d never seen before, though. They looked like green onions, but the stalks were longer, and the leaves were pointed and flat, not round. Perplexed, I did as our people have done for thousands of years, to great fame and fortune: I stuck it in my mouth. And by jove, it tasted just like garlic!

Ignore the giant thing, that's a leek.

Ignore the giant thing, that’s a leek.

So, I looked it up, and it’s green garlic. This is apparently a spring form of the exact same plant that makes regular garlic, just before the bulb is formed. So it looks much more like green onions, but with a light garlicky flavor that is tasty as hell. And, you can eat the whole thing! Cool!

So I was thinking about how to do this tasty item justice, and I was like, Maybe I’ll make risotto.

So I fucking did.

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Spring Risotto with Green Garlic and Mushrooms
Adapted from Weekly Greens
This recipe makes a TON of risotto, feel free to halve it if it’s for less than 3-4 people.

  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • One finely chopped leek, white and light green parts (recipe calls for 1/2 cup, I did almost an entire cup, just chopped the whole leek)
  • 3-4 finely chopped green garlic stalks (recipe calls for 1/2 cup, I did almost an entire cup)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I favor sauvignon blanc, for both cooking and my mouth)
  • 6 oz. fresh mixed mushrooms
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer over low heat until just steaming. Keep at this temperature, and have a measuring cup or ladle nearby.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leek, green garlic and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice to the skillet and stir until coated with oil. Continue stirring for a minute, then add the white wine and allow it to cook off. Turn the heat to medium-low, and add about 1/2 cup of the simmering stock, give a good stir, then allow the rice to absorb the liquid. Continue adding liquid 1/2 cup at a time while stirring frequently.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in another skillet over high heat. Once the oil is very hot but not yet smoking, add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Allow the mushrooms to become deeply browned on one side before turning them. When mushrooms are nicely browned, remove them from the heat and set aside.
  • Just before you add the last of the broth, add the mushrooms to the rice. Add the final 1/2 cup of broth and allow cook down. Taste the rice to make sure it’s done cooking. It should be tender, but still have just a bit of tooth to it. Add the black pepper and the Parmesan and serve immediately. Top with a few extra thin slices of green garlic to garnish.

THE RUNDOWN:

1. Avengers, assemble!

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I love eating things that grow directly in the dirt. Onions, beets, carrots, you name it, and this recipe is replete with awesome dirt-dwellers, like leeks. They’re a member of the allium genus, alongside onions, shallots, and garlic. They look basically like a fat green onion, and have a mild onion flavor. For a better shot of the leek, refer back to the first photo in this post. As for mushrooms, I’ve really taken to shiitakes, so that’s what I’ve used here (two kinds: regular, and something called “Chinese shiitakes”. No idea what those are, but they smelled good).

One thing that’s key for making risotto is arborio rice. You can’t really substitute other rice when making risotto, because arborio rice has a super high starch content, which becomes creamy when slow-cooked. The creaminess is sort of key here, so get arborio. Most grocery stores carry it.

In the back there, I’ve got some broth. I bought some, but I also had about 3 cups of broth I made out of a left over roast chicken. You need about 6 cups, which is about a box and a half-ish of store bought broth. Feel free to use veg broth if you’re a vegetablarian. If you are making the risotto and run out of broth, no worries, because you can use water to make up the difference. However, broth is obviously tastier, so try to make sure you have enough.

2. Slap chop.

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Dice the green garlic from the tip of the bulb most of the way down the stalk. I found that mine were nice and tender, but later on in the season they can become woody, so kinda check yours out as you chop them, making sure that everything is a good texture.

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Dice the leeks similarly: stop after the light green section.

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Wash and roughly chop the mushrooms. The recipe doesn’t say anything about chopping them, but I wanted to make sure that the risotto would have mushrooms in every bite, because reasons.

3. Gently heat the broth.

IMG_3552Pour it all into a saucepan, and heat on low. It will slowly warm up until it’s steaming or slightly simmering – try to keep it at that temp. The broth should be hot so that when it’s added to the rice it won’t slow the cooking, but you don’t want it any hotter than a simmer, as it will evaporate and you’ll run out.

4. Prep the pan. 

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One tablespoon butter, one of oil, medium heat. A nonstick pan is good for this, as it will keep the rice from sticking or burning later on. Get a nice big pan with a wide bottom and tall sides: lots of surface area for cooking, but also plenty of depth – the mixture will increase in size as the rice cooks.

5. Cook the leeks and green garlic.

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Look how springy that shit looks! Delightful. Smells amazing, too. Cook for about 3 minutes over medium heat, until beginning to soften. It will have plenty of time to cook further.

6. Add the rice and get to stirring.

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Measure out about a cup and a half, and measure out the wine, too, as you’re about to use it. As I noted in the recipe, this will make a shit ton of risotto – I’m going to eat this for a million days. Feel free to half the recipe.

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Stir the rice into the leeks/garlic, and cook it for a minute or two so it can get all toasty and coated in oil. Then add the wine. Stir until the wine has cooked off.

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Keep the hot broth close by – and don’t take it off the heat! It needs to stay hot. As soon as the wine has cooked off, add a 1/2 cup (or ladleful) of the broth to the rice mixture, and gently stir.

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Continue stirring until the broth has mostly been absorbed into the rice, and the pan is drying out. Once that happens, add another ladle of broth, and repeat. You’re going to keep doing this, over and over, until most/all of the broth has been used, and the risotto is tender. This can take 30-45 minutes, so be patient. You need to continuously stir – not 100% of the time, but the pan shouldn’t go more than a minute or two without a stir, as the rice will go to the bottom of the pan, and all the liquid will float on top. Closely monitor the moisture of the pan – once it begins to get dry, add more broth. I can tell when this needs to happen, because I can use the spoon to draw a line in the rice, like this:

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Once you’ve added a couple rounds of broth, get the mushrooms ready.

7. While the risotto cooks, brown the mushrooms.

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While also stirring and adding broth to the risotto, heat another tablespoon in a separate skillet on high heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms and a bit of salt, stir, and then leave them alone in the pan – they need to brown on one side, and they won’t do that unless you leave them be. After a few minutes, give them a stir. They will continue to cook down and release liquid. Once everything is nice and brown and cooked, remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside. By the way, are you still paying attention to the risotto? You’d better be. 

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8. Keep stirring and adding broth to the risotto.

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It will slowly start getting creamier, and less rice-and-liquid-y.

9. Stir more. More broth. Keep stirring.

10. Oh my god, are your arms tired? Werk it. Swimsuit season approaches. 

11. Just kidding, your body is perfect. BUT KEEP STIRRING. Taste the rice. Stir stir stir.

12. When the rice is just tender, add the mushrooms and the last 1/2 cup of broth.

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You may not have used all the broth (I had about a cup left), but keep tasting the rice. Just before it’s perfectly tender, add the mushrooms and another 1/2 cup of broth (or water, if you’ve run out of broth). Cook until the broth is absorbed.

13. Add parmesan and black pepper.

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Sha-beeeeeeeewm. Stir it up. The cheese will almost instantly incorporate, making the risotto crazy creamy and delicious looking.

14. Spoon into bowls, and top with a bit more parmesan, green garlic, and pepper.

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We did it, dudes. We fuckin’ did it. Look at that.

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ENHANCE!

I’m eating mine and listening to the sweet, sweet spring rain because MY LIFE IS PINTEREST.

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