Ricotta Risotto with Dandelion Greens and Orange

March 15, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 2-3
Author Notes

I really love my CSA. Until I picked up my box tonight, I really did not have an idea for ricotta that I just had to make. Then I opened my box, and there were three beautiful bunches of dandelion greens. My CSA specializes in greens - varieties of kale, chard, baby radicchio, mustard, collards, mizuna, tatsoi, arugula, even taro leaves - you name it, we have probably had it in our box. However, today was a first for dandelion greens. Right away, I knew I wanted to pair the creamy, sweet ricotta with the bitter dandelion greens. Risotto came to mind as a perfect vehicle for the pair. Sautéing the greens first take a bit of their bite away, so when you add them to the risotto they are tender and flavorful without being overly aggressive. I have been using orange zest a lot lately, but orange zest in risotto was an experiment – and one that paid off. The sweet, fragrant bright citrus contrasts the greens while it complements the ricotta. This is spring in a bowl. Ricotta risotto is wonderfully rich, soft and creamy. I may never make risotto again without it! —gingerroot

What You'll Need
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 large bunch tender dandelion greens, swished in water, rinsed and trimmed to 2-inch lengths for 3 loosely packed cups. Can substitute another tender bitter green, such as lacinato kale, tatsoi, mizuna or curly endive.
  • 1/3 cup baby leeks, white and tender green parts only, cleaned and sliced (can substitute spring onions or green onions)
  • 1 cup Carnaroli rice
  • 1/3 cup vermouth
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Orange for zesting
  1. Taste a bit of the dandelion green to get a sense of its bitterness.
  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. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat; add garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add dandelion greens and cook, stirring, until leaves are bright green and beginning to wilt. Taste again; greens should be considerably less bitter. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside
  4. Add ½ tablespoon olive oil to the Dutch oven and then add baby leeks. Cook for a minute, stirring to make sure baby leeks do not burn and turning stove down if necessary. Add rice and stir to coat, about a minute, until opaque. Add vermouth and cook until almost all has evaporated.
  5. Ladle about 1 cup of the warmed stock into rice mixture, constantly stirring, until almost all the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Continue adding remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, allowing rice to absorb liquid each time before adding more. Rice mixture should be barely simmering throughout additions. After 20 minutes, taste the rice. You want the finished rice to be slightly firm and creamy, with a bit of liquid remaining, 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.
  6. Off the heat, briskly stir in ricotta – any remaining liquid should come together with the cheese as the creamy finished risotto. Stir in reserved dandelion greens. Grate Pecorino Romano over risotto to taste, do the same with the black pepper. Finish the risotto with fresh orange zest (no pith) to taste. Stir and enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • pyrogyTiger
  • Fairmount_market
  • kmartinelli
  • cookinginvictoria
  • wssmom

Recipe by: gingerroot

My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love. Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.

41 Reviews

pyrogyTiger May 1, 2016
O! and I didn't have vermouth: used Shaoxing wine instead
pyrogyTiger May 1, 2016
Forgot to add the orange zest and it was still yummy! :3
Fairmount_market January 3, 2012
Gingerroot, I made this recipe with some heirloom purple barley and it was SO delicious. Thanks for the inspiration.
gingerroot January 4, 2012
Hi Fairmount_market! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it and your sub of heirloom purple barley sounds absolutely delicious. Thank you for letting me know. Happy New Year!
Fairmount_market January 3, 2012
Gingerroot, I made this with some heirloom purple barely and it was SO delicious! Thanks for the inspiration.
kmartinelli May 8, 2011
Mmmm this looks just divine.
gingerroot May 9, 2011
Thanks so much, k! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you try it.
Oh gingerroot, I am so glad that you entered this recipe in this week's contest. I have not made this yet, but I will soon -- I now have two bags of fresh dandelions in the fridge!
gingerroot May 7, 2011
Thanks, cookinginvictoria! I'm going to look for dandelion greens at my farmer's market to make it again. Hope you enjoy it!
wssmom May 7, 2011
This looks amazingly delicious! Plus, now I have access to dandelion greens!
gingerroot May 7, 2011
Thanks, wssmom! Hope you enjoy it if you try it.
cookinginvictoria March 30, 2011
Wow -- somehow I missed this earlier. I love cooking with dandelion greens (the tinier the better!), and the combination of creamy ricotta and slightly bitter dandelion greens in a risotto sounds irresistible to me. I'll definitely be making this soon.
gingerroot March 30, 2011
Thanks, cookinginvictoria! I'd love to hear what you think about this if you make it.
luvcookbooks March 30, 2011
gingerroot, made this last weekend and it will be a regular! no dandelion greens at the grocery, so I used broccoli rabe. my daughter doesn't usually like risotto, but the bitter greens and tang and lightness of ricotta, along with the orange zest, made her a convert! it makes risotto a whole new dish, and I put it into my hand written recipe notebook for regular use (alas, my online recipe collection has grown unwieldy). Thanks! btw, I used one blood orange for the zest and thought it tasted just right, also used water instead of chicken broth for my vegetarian son, didn't miss it.
luvcookbooks March 30, 2011
sorry, i was in the wrong window and thought the first comment i wrote hadn't submitted properly
gingerroot March 30, 2011
So thrilled!! Thanks for letting me know. I love blood oranges!
luvcookbooks March 30, 2011
gingerroot, i made this last weekend and it was a hit! there were no dandelion greens in the grocery but it was great with broccoli rabe. my daughter, who usually doesn't like risotto, was converted. the bitter greens and the tang and lightness of the ricotta, compared to lots of butter and parmesan, AND the bright citrus zest, gave a trad dish a whole new wardrobe. i used the zest of one blood orange, btw. thanks! went into my little hand written book of tried and trues (sadly, my online recipe file is getting unwieldy)
Burnt O. March 28, 2011
You are GENIUS! This dish actually helped inspired my horseradish recipe, and will be the perfect side dish for it. Hope to post in a few days. I was going to use dandelion greens in my main dish - but I think they will be better suited as a side dish with yours.
gingerroot March 29, 2011
Aww, thanks Burnt Offerings, it was total serendipity with the dandelion greens in my box (for the first time ever) on that particular Monday. So glad that it inspired your recipe - can't wait to see it.
TiggyBee March 19, 2011
Is this for real?? I love it!!
gingerroot March 20, 2011
Thanks so much TiggyBee! The fluffy ricotta, bitter greens, and bright sweet burst of orange all point to spring.
melissav March 17, 2011
This looks great. We get so many greens in our CSA that I am often overwhelmed. This looks a great way to put some to use.
gingerroot March 18, 2011
I feel the same way, although I love that my CSA introduces me to greens that I would otherwise never try (like these!). Thanks so much.
Oui, C. March 16, 2011
Hmmmm...I've never cooked with dandelion greens, and rarely see them around here, but I am totally making this dish with either kale, or chard. YUM! - S
gingerroot March 18, 2011
Thanks so much, S! I think lacinato kale would work really well in this. I would love to hear your thoughts about it if you try it.
luvcookbooks March 16, 2011
saved, thanks!
gingerroot March 18, 2011
Thanks, luvcookbooks, hope you try it!
healthierkitchen March 16, 2011
Brillliant! and really, really, pretty, too.
gingerroot March 18, 2011
Wow, thanks healthierkitchen! My first thought about using orange was for the color contrast with the green - I was happy to discover that the flavors worked really nicely as well!
fiveandspice March 15, 2011
Um. Yum. This looks great, and so creative!
gingerroot March 16, 2011
Thanks so much, fiveandspice! I wasn't sure about the orange zest but it turned out to be a great addition.
cbear1984 March 15, 2011
I think I'd totally make this. Saved.
gingerroot March 16, 2011
Hope you try it, cbear1984. Thanks so much!
mrslarkin March 15, 2011
Oh, risotto! Nicely done, gingerroot!
gingerroot March 16, 2011
That means a lot coming from you, mrslarkin! Thanks : ).
Sagegreen March 15, 2011
This looks like such a great early spring dish!
gingerroot March 16, 2011
Thanks, Sagegreen!!