Celery Risotto with Asian Pear and Shiso

By • September 15, 2011 19 Comments

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Author Notes: Inspired by a delicious apple-sorrel risotto from one of my favorite restaurants, I had to try a version using celery and pears. I like using Romano since it is a bit saltier and sharper than Parmesan, making additional salt unnecessary. Ricotta provides a lovely creaminess, while green shiso adds a citrus note. If you cannot find green shiso, you can substitute sweet basil. gingerroot

Serves 4

  • 3/4 cup peeled, cored and chopped (1/4-inch pieces) Asian pear
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup fienly chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped tender inner stalks celery
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 3 ounces vermouth
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
  • 3 tablespoons ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano, plus more to taste
  • 4 large green shiso leaves, cut into chiffonade and then in half crosswise (if using basil, increase amount to 5 large leaves)
  1. For pear: Combine lemon juice and water in a bowl large enough to hold the chopped pear. Add chopped pear to lemon water. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, start to heat up chicken stock over medium heat. Once stock begins to steam, cover pan and lower heat to keep stock warm.
  3. Heat butter in a Dutch oven; wait for it to brown (but not burn)—you will be able to smell it. Add onions and stir to coat. Add chopped celery and cook mixture until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, about a minute, until opaque. Add vermouth and cook, stirring until most of liquid has evaporated.
  4. Ladle about 3/4 cup of the warmed stock into rice mixture, constantly stirring, until almost all the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Continue adding remaining broth, one ladleful at a time, allowing rice to absorb liquid each time before adding more. Rice mixture should be barely simmering throughout additions, so you may need to adjust the heat (usually I have to lower it a bit). After 18 minutes, taste the rice. You want the finished rice to be slightly firm and creamy, with a bit of liquid remaining, but not mushy. If the rice is tender, remove from heat. If rice needs a minute more, by all means, cook it a minute more, adding a bit more stock if necessary.
  5. Drain pears through a fine mesh sieve and set over a bowl near stove. Off heat, stir in ricotta and Romano. Risotto should come together and be very creamy. Add celery leaves, shiso, and chopped pears. Gently stir to combine. Serve immediately, with additional Romano, if desired. Enjoy!

More Great Recipes: Risotto|Rice & Grains|Side Dishes|Fruit|Entrees

Topics: Cooking with Scraps, Italian Cooking, Weekend Cooking

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