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
peeled, cored and chopped (1/4-inch pieces) Asian pear
3 1/2 cups
1 1/2 tablespoons
fienly chopped onion
finely chopped tender inner stalks celery
chopped celery leaves
grated pecorino Romano, plus more to taste
large green shiso leaves, cut into chiffonade and then in half crosswise (if using basil, increase amount to 5 large leaves)
Combine lemon juice and water in a bowl large enough to hold the chopped pear. Add chopped pear to lemon water. Set aside.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.