Steven Redzikowski’s Recipe for Risotto With Goat Cheese and Spring Vegetables
Now is the moment when the weather’s still chilly enough to call for a dish that’s creamy and consoling, but we’re craving something green. This recipe for risotto lightened with peas and ramps delivers on both counts
By Kitty Greenwald in the Wall Street Journal
THERE IS SUCH a thing as too much comfort, and, come spring, even creamy, consoling risotto can get monotonous. Colorado chef Steven Redzikowski bemoans the “just throw everything into a pot” method of making the dish—and its tendency to produce an undifferentiated mush. “Three or four bites in, you’re eating the same thing again and again,” he said. Not so with Mr. Redzikowski’s second Slow Food Fast contribution, a fresh take on the one-pot rice dish that delivers distinct layers of flavor and texture, not to mention a welcome helping of seasonal vegetables.
The base layer is traditional enough, composed of rice—a plump, short- to medium-grain variety such as Arborio or Carnaroli—white wine, chicken stock, Parmesan and butter. As brief as the ingredient list is, it’s important to handle everything with care. The butter, for instance, should be very cold. “Add it at the end,” Mr. Redzikowski advised, “when the rice is just off the heat and slightly tempered, so the fat emulsifies correctly.” That way, the butter and the starch released from the rice will work together to bind everything into a luscious whole, rather than separating into something lumpy or oily.
Once the grains have cooked to just the right degree of tenderness, Mr. Redzikowski crowns the risotto with dollops of fresh goat cheese and a scattering of charred ramps, blanched peas and raw pea tendrils. The result: a dish to see you through both chilly early spring and the warmer days to come. “What would otherwise be a heavy bowl of rice is loosened up and lightened,” the chef said. “It’s textured and clean.”
Risotto With Goat Cheese and Spring Vegetables
Total Time: 35 minutes Serves: 4-6
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 2 ramps or scallions
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small yellow onion, minced
- Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
- 1½ cups white wine
- 10 cups hot chicken stock
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons cold butter
- ¼ cup pea shoots or thinly sliced basil
- 2 ounces goat cheese
1. In a small pot of boiling salted water, blanch peas until bright green, 1-2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer directly into an ice-water bath. Strain and toss peas dry. Set aside.
2. Set a burner on high, place ramps directly on top and char on all sides, 1-2 minutes total. Remove and thinly slice. Stir peas and sliced ramps together and season with salt. Set aside.
3. In a wide medium pot over medium-high heat, sauté garlic, onions and thyme in oil until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in rice, coating grains, then add wine and increase heat to high. Cook, stirring, until wine evaporates, 4-5 minutes.
4. Return heat to medium-high, ladle 2 cups hot stock into rice and simmer, stirring, until most of liquid evaporates, 2-4 minutes. Add remaining stock 2 cups at a time, letting it mostly absorb before adding more, and continue to cook, stirring, until grains are just tender and consistency is loose but not soupy, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Off heat, fold in Parmesan and butter.
5. To serve, ladle risotto into bowls. Garnish with pea and ramp mixture, pea shoots, dollops of goat cheese and a drizzle of oil.
This recipe idea is out of Colorado, USA. The chef uses wood for cooking, too. I suspect most will modify it with what they can find at their home.