Yesterday’s evening meal took inspiration from a walk down to the River Tees (and what we had left in the fridge). I needed a non-computer day and a bit of a change of scenery and this is one of my favourite walks in Darlington.

When I got there and was hit by the beautiful smell of the Wild Garlic and saw that the flowers were out I was instantly inspired to make one of our favourite spring risottos.

I also saw a sparrowhawk and a ringed-neck parakeet whilst out walking!

Serves 2
 
For the risotto

  • 140g risotto rice (I like carnarolli)
  • 2 medium white onions, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 litre (or so) of good stock (we use Marigold, lo-salt vegan), keeping warm on a cooker ring
  • 40g parmesan, grated
  • oil and knob of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of crème fraîche
  • handful of wild garlic leaves, finely chiffonaded (nice YouTube video on how to do this)
  • a few wild garlic flowers, to garnish (make sure you get all the little black bugs out)

For the cabbage

  • ½ hispi cabbage, finely chiffonaded and rinsed
  • 20g butter

Putting it all together

  1. Gently soften the onion and cloves of garlic in the oil and butter, try to aim for transparent with no colour to them, so slow and steady. Add a good grind of black pepper.
  2. Once onions done, turn heat up to a high medium, add the rice and stir to get all the rice covered in oil/butter.
  3. Once that’s done add a couple of ladles of stock to the rice, this will bubble furiously – don’t worry. Stir until the bubbling has calmed down.
  4. At this point heat the butter in a large sauté pan until slightly bubbling, turn to a low heat and add the cabbage, stir and put a lid on. Check this throughout the rice cooking time adding a touch of water if sticking.
  5. Continue to add ladles of stock to the risotto one at a time until the liquid is almost absorbed. You want the rice to be slightly al dente and the consistency of the risotto to be slightly soupy. This takes about 20 minutes from the first bit of stock being added, depending on the rice and the age of the rice.
  6. Once this is achieved add the wild garlic leaves and mix in thoroughly, then take off the heat and add the crème fraîche and parmesan to the pot, give it one stir. Let rest for about 4 minutes then stir to incorporate thoroughly.
  7. Plate to one side of dish, cabbage to the left and garnish with wild garlic flowers.

We often have this with a balsamic glaze which really adds a depth of flavour to the dish.

What was also really satisfying is this is the way that I’ve made risotto ever since reading Locatelli’s ‘Made in Italy’ and when we recently watched the BBC programme ‘Remarkable Places to Eat: Venice’ and Fred Sirieix and Angela Hartnett visited Trattoria al Gatto Nero and were surprised by how risotto was cooked there, I was thinking was there any other way, this is how it should be done.

The worry there was how was the risotto they were eating and cooking made?

As I was told I make nonna’s risotto!

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