Thursday, April 7, 2016

Risotto di Bruscandoli

I was at my friend's Frutteria a while ago and spotted this plant that looked like tiny asparagus.  I asked what it was, but didn't really understand.  My friend mentioned it was good in risotto and told me what to do.  So I bought some, took it home, and made risotto with it.  It wasn't until the next week that I was at a supermarket and spotted it again.  (Pic above of the supermarket stuff.)  I took a pic of the name so I could come home and look it up online.  Turns out Bruscandoli is a kind of wild hops plant!!  It's tender and mild; perfect for risotto.  You snap off the rough ends like asparagus.

Risotto di Bruscandoli
adapted from here

4 cups (1 quart container) chicken broth
2 cups water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 bunch Bruscandoli, washed, tough ends snapped, chopped into bite-size pieces
Salt, to taste
1 ½ cups Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice
½ cup dry white wine (I used Pino Grigio)
Black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan

1.  In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken broth and water to simmering.  (I combine them because I find just broth to be too salty, even reduced-sodium.)  Once simmering, lower the heat to the lowest possible heat.

2.  In a large stockpot (I like not-stick for risotto), heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and chopped Bruscandoli and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the wine and let evaporate completely.

3.  Begin adding hot broth, a couple of ladles at a time. Broth should just cover the rice and should be bubbling. Stir often. When broth has just about evaporated, add another ladle or 2 to just cover rice. Continue to cook in this way until rice is al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes. (I cook a few minutes more so it's not too al dente, but not mushy either.) Add a little pepper, taste and adjust seasoning.  (If you run out of broth/water, you can use hot water.  Will need to add salt to taste probably.)

6. Add another ladleful of broth to the rice. Stir in butter and Parmesan and remove from heat. Mixture should be creamy. Serve right away.
Special risotto rice grown locally.  I like using Vialone Nano or Carnaoli vs. Arborio.

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