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Spring Risotto with Ramps, Asparagus, and Morels

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Serves 6

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 78

Ramps, or wild leeks, are one of the fleeting pleasures of early spring. Their pungent, almost spicy garlicky-onion flavor mellows a bit with cooking, and this creamy risotto is the perfect vehicle to show them off, paired with two other spring vegetable stars, morels and asparagus.

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup trimmed and roughly chopped ramps
  • 2 cups asparagus pieces (1 inch)
  • 7 cups homemade or reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups short-grain risotto rice, such as arborio or carnaroli
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup dried morels, soaked in 2 cups hot water for 30 minutes and cut into 1/4-inch slices (strain and reserve the soaking liquid)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a medium sauté pan, heat the butter until foaming, then add the ramps and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and sauté another 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.

Bring the broth almost to a boil in a large pot. Reduce the heat to very low; the broth should stay hot but not simmer.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy 3- to 4-quart straight-sided sauté pan at least 10 inches wide or in a similar-sized Dutch oven. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook slowly, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, lower the heat to medium low, and continue cooking until the water is completely gone and the onion is soft and glistening but not browned, another 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the rice to the pan and raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, to coat the rice with the oil, about 3 minutes. Toasted rice should still be white and glistening, but you should hear a clicking sound when you stir it.

Pour in the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until it’s mostly absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir the mushrooms and their soaking liquid into the rice, and cook, stirring, until the liquid is mostly absorbed.

Ladle in 1-1/2 to 2 cups broth to barely cover the rice and stir constantly. Add another 1/2 tsp. salt, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and keep stirring. When all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is dry enough that your stirring spoon leaves a trail showing the bottom of the pot, ladle in another cup of broth, again stirring until it’s all absorbed. Continue adding broth in 1-cup increments, always stirring, until the rice is nearly but not fully al dente; this is usually 12 to 16 minutes after the first addition of liquid.

When the risotto is a few minutes away from al dente, stir in the sautéed ramps and asparagus.

After you’ve added 5 cups of liquid, (16 to 20 minutes from the first liquid addition), taste the rice to determine if it’s al dente and pleasantly creamy. If it is, remove it immediately from the heat. Otherwise, let it cook a little longer, incorporating more broth. Gently stir in the cheese and parsley and serve immediately.

Photo: Scott Phillips

Although I hate to address all the changes made to the original recipe, I did make changes due to availability and preferences. Used leeks 'cause couldn't find ramps. Hate mushrooms so left them out. All else the same, but reduced by half for a three serving solution since just hubby and me. This was excellent when paired with grilled pork chops with a rub of dried thyme, allspice, salt and pepper. Lydia, thank you very much! Highly recommend!

127703ContentMarcus Samuelsson/moveablefeast/authors/samuelsson-marcus/ Marcus Samuelsson Marcus Samuelsson (Select) us Marcus Samuelsson brought the art of Scandinavian cooking to New York long before the recent Nordic craze. As executive chef at New York’s Aquavit (from 1995 to 2010), the Ethiopian-born Swede (who graduatedMarcus SamuelssonMarcus Samuelsson(Select)usMarcus Samuelsson brought the art of Scandinavian cooking to New York long before the recent Nordic craze. As executive chef at New York’s Aquavit (from 1995 to 2010), the Ethiopian-born Swede (who graduated from the Culinary Institute in Gothenburg, Sweden, and apprenticed in Switzerland, Austria, and France) turned an entire city on to gravlax and herring, giving Swedish cuisine a modern, luxurious turn, and receiving three stars from the New York Times in the process. In 1999, he was James Beard’s “Rising Star Chef,” and in 2003 the “Best Chef,” New York City.The awards just kept on coming, as Samuelsson branched out with Japanese restaurant Riingo. He received consecutive four-star ratings in Forbes’ annual All-Star Eateries feature, was named one of the 40 under 40 by Crain’s, and was hailed one of The Great Chefs of America by the Culinary Institute of America. And in 2009 he planned and executed the Obama administration’s first state dinner for the first family, Prime Minister Singh of India, and 400 of their guests. He has been a UNICEF ambassador since 2000, focusing his advocacy on water and sanitation issues, specifically the Tap Project.Samuelsson took uptown Manhattan by storm with his Red Rooster Harlem, a spirited neighborhood place where the menu has his renowned Swedish meatballs (with lingonberries, of course) alongside fish and grits, and jerk chicken with yucca. Downstairs, sister venue Ginny’s Supper Club brings live jazz, cocktails, and Samuelsson’s food together until the wee hours. And now he’s brought his blend of cooking and culture to Lincoln Center, with American Table Café and Bar at Alice Tully Hall, and his casual burger joints, Marc Burger to Costa Mesa, California, and Chicago. Back in his native Sweden, Samuelsson has launched American Table Brasserie and Bar, in Stockholm, Norda Bar & Grill, in Gothenburg, and Kitchen and Table, in Uppsala. Among his many TV appearances, Samuelsson is a judge on The Taste (now in its third season), was the winner on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters Season 2, as well as the winner of the second season of Chopped All-Stars. He is also the author of cookbooks Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine (2003), The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa (2006), New American Table (2009)and the 2012 memoir Yes, Chef, which was also nominated for a James Beard Foundation award.NoneNoneCourtesy of Marcus SamuelssonStandardNoneNoneNone1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM1/9/2016 1:05:47 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AMKateSheelyMarcus Samuelsson88O10331/9/2016 01:05:47 AMArchive_Expire/WorkArea/images/application/spacer.gif/WorkArea/images/application/spacer.gif/moveablefeast/authors/samuelsson-marcus/10/30/2013 11:09:06 AMChefFree Content127115ContentPete Evans/moveablefeast/authors/evans-pete/ Pete Evans Pete Evans (Select) us Pete Evans is an award-winning Australian chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and TV host. Born in Melbourne and raised on Australia’s beautiful Gold Coast, Pete is not your average chef—he’s also an avid fisherman, surfer,Pete EvansPeteEvans(Select)usPete Evans is an award-winning Australian chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and TV host. Born in Melbourne and raised on Australia’s beautiful Gold Coast, Pete is not your average chef—he’s also an avid fisherman, surfer, cookbook author, and television personality.   Pete’s food career began at the tender age of 19 when, with brother Dave, he opened their first restaurant, The Pantry, in Melbourne’s bayside suburb of Brighton in 1993. It quickly became a favorite spot and found devoted fans among city locals, celebrities, and critics alike. Since then, Pete has opened six award-winning restaurants, written seven best-selling cookbooks, including the Australian barbecue bible My Grill. He has hosted television shows in Australia for the past decade, and in 2012, his series My Kitchen Rules pulled an audience of more than 3.5 million, making it one of the most-watched shows of the year in Australia. Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking will be his first television series in the U.S.NoneNonePhoto courtesy of Pete EvansStandardNoneNoneNone1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM11/4/2013 10:50:52 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AMKateSheelyPete Evans78A103311/4/2013 10:50:52 AMArchive_Expire/WorkArea/images/application/spacer.gif/WorkArea/images/application/spacer.gif/moveablefeast/authors/evans-pete/8/9/2013 11:26:13 AMChefFree Content101664ContentJonathan Waxman/moveablefeast/authors/waxman-jonathan/ Jonathan WaxmanJonathanWaxman(Select)usThe trajectory of chef Jonathan Waxman’s career is similar to the way the New York Times described his West Coast–style restaurant Jams: “a culinary comet.” That was in 1984, and Waxman’s cooking has never failed to set off sparks. Lively and very Italian, Barbuto, Waxman’s West Village restaurant (opened in 2004), with its wood-fired oven, housemade pasta, and silky seafood, is like a profile of the chef himself. Called “the Eric Clapton of chefs” by L.A. restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, Waxman (a two-time Top Chef Masters contestant) brings the riffs of his California days with Alice Waters at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, and at Michael’s in L.A. There, in the 1970s, after graduating from La Varenne cooking school in Paris, Waxman was one of the pioneers creating a new American way of cooking, with a reverence for the seasonal and for the vast resources right in our own backyard. Along the way, Esquire magazine named him one of the most influential Americans, for all that he’s contributed to the culinary world.Taking his act to the East Coast, with Jams (where Julia Child was a fan), and later with Washington Park (opened in 2002), Waxman always held fast to the new American ideal of impeccable sourcing and inventive thinking, which continues at Barbuto, and at 2014 launches Montecito (in Toronto, a co-venture with film director Ivan Reitman), Adele’s, in Nashville’s Gulch neighborhood, and his upcoming New York place within 1 Hotels Central Park.Waxman has written cookbooks A Great American Cook (2007), and Italian, My Way (2011), and is also a prime player in the nonprofit Citymeals-on-Wheels fundraising events. NoneNoneCourtesy of Jonathan WaxmanStandardNoneNoneNone1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM1/28/2015 4:53:09 PM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AMRobynAitkenJonathan Waxman90A10331/28/2015 04:53:09 PMArchive_Expire/WorkArea/images/application/spacer.gif/WorkArea/images/application/spacer.gif/moveablefeast/authors/waxman-jonathan/8/11/2008 4:27:48 PMChefFree Content102Moveable Feast Widget

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