The food blogosphere has been full of spring risotto recipes for weeks now: risotto with ramps, risotto with peas, risotto with asparagus. And they all sound delicious. However, it hasn’t been that warm around here. I haven’t seen any peas or ramps at the store. Our produce boxes have steadily included apples and hearty greens though. So I made risotto with what I had.
I’ve mentioned before that I dislike store-bought veggie broth. I didn’t have any homemade broth either. So I made some up on the spot which I’ve included in the recipe.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 3/4 cup hard apple cider
- 4 1/2 cups mushroom broth (see below)
- 2 large leaves of kale, de-stemmed and chopped
- 1 small apple, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper
For the broth:
- 1/2 cup hard apple cider
- 4 cups water
- 1 ounce of dried shitake mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
- large pinch of sea salt
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- Combine all the ingredients for the broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cover and let simmer for at least 15 minutes. Keep the broth over low heat while making the risotto.
- When ready to start the risotto, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Add the rice, cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring so that the rice gets coated in oil.
- Add the hard cider, continue stirring until the cider is absorbed, another minute or two.
- Add the broth a ladleful at a time. Stir frequently. Once the broth is absorbed add another ladle. Continue until all the broth has been used.
- When the broth is mostly used, remove the shitakes and allow to cool. When cool enough to touch, slice.
- After all the broth has been absorbed, stir in the kale, apples, shitakes, and butter. Season with salt and peppers. Cook for a few minutes until the butter is melted, the kale is wilted, and the apples are heated through. Serve.
You certainly can use pre-made vegetable or mushroom broth if you have either. I’d use the same technique and soak the shitakes while the broth is being warmed. Or you could leave the mushrooms out entirely, since their purpose was to flavor the broth.
Obviously I veered from typical risotto making by using hard cider in place of white wine. The apple flavor was pretty subtle. Wine would certainly work if you can’t track down (or don’t feel like tracking down) hard cider.
This recipe has a fairly high ratio of veggies/fruit to rice. That’s considered good in my book, but others may think it distracts from the creaminess of the risotto. If that is you, you may want to scale back on the kale, apples, or mushrooms.