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.
- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cook time 40 minutes
- Serves 4
1 1/2 cups
carnaroli or arborio rice
spring onions, finely chopped
garlic cloves, minced
Calabrian chili, finely sliced
dry white wine
broth any kind, then some
lacinato kale, stems finely chopped, leaves sliced into ribbons
sweet peppers, diced
button mushrooms, stems removed, quartered and sliced
turmeric root, the size of half your pinky, peeled and grated
small mountain of finely grated parmesan cheese
salt, to taste
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Sprinkle in the grated turmeric (using a microplane works best here) and stir until incorporated. Watch the color change before your eyes. Beautiful, huh?
- Top everything with a friendly dash of salt and serve with parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.