This recipe is definitely going to make a repeat appearance in our house! Following our visit to Rialto, I received an email from a PR agency that represents Rialto’s Chef and owner, Jody Adams. Chef Adams is also a contestant on the next season of Top Chef Masters which starts next week. They offered to send me some of the chef’s recipes. and of course I accepted!
Despite the dreadful, gray, rainy weather we have been having, I decided to make the Spring Green Risotto recipe and to top it with the scallops that I bought at Dorchester Market, a great place to get fish if you live in the area. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but you can find my inspiration from Jody Adams at the end of this post!
The peas and asparagus made the dish green, although the veggie broth I used to make the risotto made it sort of brown I mixed about 1/2 cup of this week’s Wednesday wine, Jacob’s Creek 2008 Pinot Grigio, with the broth as it heated up. The recipe did not call for this, but I thought it would go well, and it did! I made a few other recipe variations based on the ingredients that I had picked up at the store for the week, but overall, the recipes were very similar.
Asparagus was one of the start ingredients, which was a big draw to this dish in the first place. I love asparagus! I really can not get enough of green things in spring. Asparagus always goes well with risotto. I often like to mix a variety of mushrooms, onions, and asparagus as a risotto topping.
The scallops were extremely fresh and well wrapped. Fresh scallops smell very slightly sweet and not fishy at all. I dried them off thoroughly so that there would be as little moisture as possible. I have always had a hard time getting a good sear on scallops because of excess moisture, and I was determined to have golden scallops this time.
I was very pleased how everything came out! The key to good risotto is patience and lots of stirring as you slowly add the hot broth/wine combo. This is one dish that I have found really can not be rushed, but it is totally worth it.
As I mentioned above, I incorporated into the recipe some of the Jacob’s Creek Pinot Grigio that Jacob’s Creek actually sent me for their Superbowl promotion (other wine reviews can be found here, here, and here). We also each had a glass of the wine with dinner. This wine is incredibly light and food friendly with a fresh, lemony flavor. If you have been hesitant to try many wines, I would definitely recommend this as a good starting place. It is easy to drink and would be great for summer entertaining.
Do you have a favorite spring recipe and/or wine?
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Spring Green risotto
¼ pound asparagus spears
1 cup fresh peas
3 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, cut into ¼-inch dice, 1 cup
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head escarole, thoroughly washed and cut into ½ inch ribbons
1 stalk celery, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice, including leaves
1½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white vermouth
½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon chopped fresh summer savory or mint
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Rinse asparagus. Snap off the bottom third. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the stalks, to within 1 inch of the tip. Reserves stalk ends and peelings. Cut the peeled asparagus on the diagonal into ½ inch slices.
Bring 2 cups salted water to a boil. Add the diagonally cut asparagus pieces and peas and blanch 2 minutes. Scoop out the vegetables with a slotted spoon and transfer immediately to ice water. Drain and dry.
Add the asparagus stalk ends and peelings to the boiling water reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. Strain the flavored water into a clean pot. Add the stock and keep warm over low heat.
Melt the butter in a risotto pan or a large, deep-sided saucepan over medium heat. It’s important to use a pan with a heavy bottom that conducts heat evenly; otherwise the rice will burn when you’re cooking the risotto. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the escarole and celery and cook 3 minutes.
Add the rice and cook 5 minutes, stirring so the fat coats all the rice. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the vermouth and cook, stirring frequently, until most of it has been absorbed. Add the stock, ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently, making sure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. If you find that the stock is absorbed instantly, or you have to stir violently to prevent the rice from sticking and burning, and then lower the heat. Wait until most of the stock has been absorbed before adding the next half-cup. Continue adding the stock ½ cup at a time. Stop adding stock when the rice is creamy and tender, but there’s still a slight amount of resistance as you bite into it. Don’t worry if there’s still chicken stock left—you may not have to use it all. The total cooking time for the rice is about 30 minutes.
As soon as the rice is finished stir the asparagus and peas. Season with salt and pepper. The texture should be creamy and slightly runny. Stir in the lemon zest, herbs and three quarters of the cheese. Add ¼ cup stock or water (if you’ve run out of stock) just before serving. Spoon into warmed large shallow bowls or use warmed plates and serve the remaining cheese on the side.