Off the Cuff Turmeric Risotto



Author Notes: The idea here is that cooking is improv, a constant riff. Aim less for precision and more for something customizable. With risotto as your vehicle, whatever you have on hand is fair game. Start your risotto off with an allium sizzling in oil, here we used spring onions, but shallots or onions are great as well. Toss in a little spice for good measure.

Sometimes, ingredients are best when variable. Here, we went with greens for brightness, peppers for crunch, and mushrooms for woodsy flavor. But play around! Recipes are most fun when fiddled with, treated like roadmaps rather than directives. I can imagine this being amazing with chunks of asparagus and littered with enoki mushrooms.

At the end, a nub of freshly ground turmeric gives the whole thing a unifying blanket of color.
Valerio Farris

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 40 min

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 3 splashes olive oil
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 Calabrian chili, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups broth any kind, then some
  • 1/2 bunch lacinato kale, stems finely chopped, leaves sliced into ribbons
  • 8 sweet peppers, diced
  • 10 button mushrooms, stems removed, quartered and sliced
  • 1 turmeric root, the size of half your pinky, peeled and grated
  • 1 small mountain of finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 dash salt, to taste
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Warm the broth in its own saucepan. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy sauté pan or Dutch oven on a different burner. Add the onions and swirl them around until translucent, but not brown. Toss in the Calabrian chili as well. Get that oil nice and tasty.
  2. Throw in that garlic. Sauté your vegetables—in the same pan—in order from hardest to softest: First the peppers and the stems of the kale until just lightly soft, then your mushrooms. Hold the julienned leaves for later. Go ahead and salt generously.
  3. Now toss in your rice. Spin it around in your oil for something like 5 minutes, no more then ten. When it's nice and toasty, give it a splash of your wine and stir constantly until the liquid evaporates.
  4. Ladle in your broth until the whole affair is just barely covered. Stir, stir, stir until it's almost all evaporated. Then ladle in some more. Ladle, stir, refill—this is the motto. Keep this up until your rice has a slight chew, but isn't at all chalky. Everyone's al dente is up to them, anyways. Fold in the sliced kale leaves and let them soften. Drizzle in a bit more stock if the risotto starts to look dry and keep stirring
  5. Sprinkle in the grated turmeric (using a microplane works best here) and stir until incorporated. Watch the color change before your eyes. Beautiful, huh?
  6. Top everything with a friendly dash of salt and serve with parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

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