30 March 2012

Risotto, daffodils, and pigeon hunting

Julian and I went to a nice little playground on Tuesday, and apparently he's the Pigeon Whisperer (or Herder/Hunter/Tormenter?). He's officially obsessed with them, and it's hilarious. The other parents at the park thought so, too, but I was too focused on him to take pictures of them laughing at him. See below for pictorial representation.

The weather we've been getting is unreal, and the new produce at the supermarket has put me in a culinarily summery spirit. I bought my first basil plant of the year, stuck it in our sunny conservatory, and threw together a risotto with cooked chestnuts, zucchini, basil, spinach, and green onion. It was surprisingly good; sometimes those everythinginmykitchenisgoinginhere recipes are just what one needs to get out of the followingtherecipe trap.

Outfit post tomorrow.


Chestnut & summer vegetable risotto (recipe at the bottom of the post)
Everywhere in The Hague, daffodils are popping up. This is in the median in the middle of our street.
Hello, pigeon. 
Time out.
And, repeat.

Chestnut & Summer Vegetable Risotto

  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp truffle oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, entire length chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, chopped (with seeds if you like spicy, remove seeds for less heat)
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely sliced with vegetable peeler
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, plus more for serving, washed and stems removed
  • dash of half-fat milk
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • large pinch marjoram
  • large handful basil, torn into pieces
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat stock in a medium saucepan until boiling. While stock is heating, melt butter over medium-low heat in a large saute pan, then add olive oil and truffle oil. Add green onions and garlic and cook until fragrant and soft, stirring frequently. The heat should be low enough that the garlic and green onions do not brown.
  2. Add the chili pepper, chestnuts, and zucchini. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Turn up heat to medium-high and add rice. Cook until rice turns translucent, with a small opaque center, about 3 minutes, then add wine. Cook, stirring constantly, until the wine absorbs into the rice. The alcohol will burn off, leaving the rice fragrant. 
  4. Remove the boiling stock from heat. Add a ladle of stock to the rice, stirring until it absorbs. Turn down the heat to a simmer; you don't want the rice to cook too quickly on the outside, or you'll end up with a mushy outer and crunchy inner.
  5. Repeat, adding a ladle of stock at a time and waiting until it absorbs to add more. (Resist salting the rice at this point; your stock will add saltiness and can quickly become too much.) Keep adding broth until the rice is not crunchy anymore, but still firm. This process will take approximately 15-20 minutes, depending on how quickly your rice is absorbing the liquid. You might have stock left at the end, or you might run out. If the latter happens, you can use ladlefuls of boiling water.
  6. Once your rice is satisfactorily cooked, stir in parmesan. Turn heat to low and add 2 cups spinach, stirring into the risotto until wilted but still bright green. Remove from heat, and stir in sour cream, marjoram, and 3/4 of the basil. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve over a bed of fresh spinach. Sprinkle basil on top of each serving.