spring vegetable risotto with a poached egg

March 19, 2014 § 73 Comments

Here is  delicious spring risotto recipe.  Crispy fennel, sweet nutty cremini mushrooms, garlic and spring leeks all together with creamy Parmigiano-Reggiano risotto and an egg on top.  My last recipe I posted had an egg on top too!  Must be the warm spring air and the thought of chicken’s laying fresh eggs giving me inspiration.  Or maybe it’s because I have cut back a bit on my meat consumption and the eggs are a source of protein I so often crave.  Whatever the reason it doesn’t matter because honestly, the egg was a love match with this risotto.  A perfect union.


Risotto can seem so daunting to prepare.  Standing over a pot midweek and continuously stirring for twenty minutes can seem a bit much for some.  However, once all the ingredients are chopped and prepped it is quite effortless.    There is something to be said about being organized in the kitchen.  It certainly makes for a much better cooking experience and this goes together quite smoothly when you gather all your ingredients and prep them before heating your pot.


Refashioned from Bon Appétit… serves 4, generously.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 4 large fresh eggs
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, white only, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • handful of baby spinach leaves, cleaned and dried
  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen (thawed) peas
  • 2 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for shaving
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives, snipped
  • Freshly ground black pepper

M e t h o d

Bring a large skillet of salted water to a bare simmer over medium-low heat. Add vinegar. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl, then slide into simmering water. Repeat with 3 more eggs. Cook until whites are cooked but yolks are runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water.

Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large, wide heavy pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to bowl.
Heat oil and remaining 1 tablespoon butter in same pot over medium heat. Add leeks, fennel, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated, about 4 minutes.  Add 1 cup broth. Cook, stirring often (no need to stir constantly), until broth is almost absorbed.  Add remaining broth by ladlefuls, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more, stirring often, until rice is tender but still firm to the bite and mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total.  Add spinach, greek yogurt, 1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, snipped chives, peas and mushrooms to risotto. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted and cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Season risotto with salt.  A few minutes before risotto is done, reheat poached eggs in a large skillet of simmering water, about 1 minute.  Divide risotto among bowls and top with eggs, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, chives, and pepper.


simple tomato risotto

December 2, 2013 § 64 Comments


The recipe for this risotto comes from Tessa Kiros and her wonderful book Apples for Jam.  I often feature recipes from Tessa and it is only because every recipe she writes is outstanding and very simple to prepare.   My only problem is every time I prepare this risotto I never seem to make enough.  I have been wanting to make fried risotto balls with the leftovers, however,  this is well liked by all and we manage to finish off the entire pot every time.  Doubling the recipe is highly recommended, or quadruple if you are planning to have leftovers (which is what I am going to do next time!).   This recipe serves three.  I titled it simple because you do not have to stand over the pot continually stirring and adding broth.   You can just allow it to cook and stir occasionally.

It is suggested to serve this with little cubes of mozzarella stirred through near the end.  We have had it both ways, however, I prefer to leave it out.   If you like stringy melted mozzarella by all means add it at the end of cooking,  just before serving.

I n g r e d i e n t s:


  • 1/2 onion, peeled
  • 1 small carrot, peeled
  • 1 leafy celery stalk
  • 3 parsley sprigs
  • 1/2 small tomato
  • 5 cups water
  • salt


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, left whole
  • pinch or two chile flakes
  • 1 cup risotto (arborio or carnaroli rice)
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes, pureed
  • 2 large basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, to serve
  • grated parmesan, to serve
  • freshly grated black pepper, to serve

For the broth, put the onion, carrot, celery, parsley and tomato in a pan with 5 cups of water.  Add water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, then turn down the heat as low as it will go and leave the pan over the heat.

Heat the olive oil in a wide heavy bottomed pot.  Sauté the onion and garlic over low-medium heat for 5 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Stir in the chile flakes and risotto, and cook for another minute.  Add half the tomato purée, half the basil and 1 1/2 cups of the hot broth.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.  stirring now and then.  Add the rest of the tomato purée and the remaining broth, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the risotto is cooked (if it needs another few minutes or a little more liquid, just use hot water).  Tessa recommends you remove the garlic cloves and throw them away.  We keep them in and eat them!  Stir in the Parmensan and remaining basil.  Serve drizzled with olive oil and a good grating of black pepper and pass around the extra Parmesan.

risotto with sun gold tomato sauce

September 11, 2013 § 65 Comments

We are experiencing an interesting tomato season here in Seattle.  I planted five varietals late June (once our temperatures stayed above 50°F overnight) and we are just now reaping the rewards of our harvest.  Four months!  Is that normal?  All the saplings I put into the ground were approximately 12″ in height.  The Sun Gold continued to grow until it reached at least 8 feet tall!  I was staking, tying and propping every other day.  The Sweet 100’s did not get quite as tall, however it’s circumference is at least 4 feet.    I also planted 3 heirloom varietals and they seem to be a bit more “normal” and are presently crowded with green tomatoes (and they are not a green varietal).  We are suppose to have temperatures in the low 90’s this week so hopefully we’ll get some color tomatoes.

I brought in a fair amount of Sun Gold’s and a few Sweet 100’s today and decided to make a risotto for dinner.  This was sensational.  The tomatoes along with the red wine vinegar gave the dish a subtle tang and the Grana Padano cheese was a perfect match for bringing out the flavor and adding a bit of creaminess to it’s texture.  A very lovely Tuesday night dinner.


I n g r e d i e n t s

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 6 cups Sun Gold or Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 basil sprigs (I used Greek basil) + a little extra for garnish
  • 1 thyme sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

For the risotto:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups risotto
  • 6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock, on a steady simmer
  • 1/4 cup Grana Padano cheese or Parmesan,  freshly grated


M e t h o d

The sauce.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, stirring often, until soft and translucent, 6-8 minutes.  Add garlic, basil and thyme sprigs and cook stirring often, until fragrant.  Add tomatoes and vinegar.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes release their juices and a sauce forms, approximately 15 minutes.  Discard the basil and thyme sprigs.  Add a sprinkling of salt to taste (and do taste it) set aside.

The risotto.  Heat oil in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for two minutes until soft.  Add the risotto and stir for one minute making sure all of the grains are well coated.  Begin to add the hot stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently.  Wait until each addition of stock is almost absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.  Reserve 1/4 cup of stock to add at the end.  After approximately 25-30 minutes, when the risotto is tender but not soft, add the reserved stock, tomato sauce and Grana Padano.   Serve right away with an additional sprinkling of Grana Padano and basil.

Serves 4.

vegetable risotto (risotto di verdure)

May 24, 2013 § 48 Comments

In a previous post I mentioned my admiration for Tessa Kiros and her fine cookbook Apples for Jam.  I adore this cookbook and in my opinion it is written for me.  My particular copy is far from being gently used.  The dust cover is tattered and torn and many of its pages are a bit warped and spattered with the ingredients the recipe is calling for.  I thought about picking up a nice new crisp copy, but then realized I couldn’t possibly replace my characterized volume.   On a visit to the library the other day I acquired another one of Tessa’s cookbooks, Venezia. Looking through the recipes I stumbled upon this vegetable risotto.  With all ingredients in season I decided we would have this for dinner.  Being a borrowed book from the library I just better keep the pages clean!


This risotto recipe was terrific.  It had all the substantial textures and flavor you want from a spring vegetable risotto.  The crispy artichoke was a impressive way to top it off.  When you prepare the artichokes I found it is very important to make sure you completely cut the tough parts of the leaves off.  Next time I prepare this I will use baby artichokes if they are in season.  I treasure baby artichokes because the whole globe is tender therefore no need to cut so much away and the hairy choke is nonexistent.



  • 1 bunch of asparagus (about 12)
  • 5 cups of hot vegetable broth
  • 1 large artichoke (6 baby artichokes)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 or 4 young zucchinis, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • all-purpose flour, for coating
  • light olive oil
  • handful of mint sprigs


To prepare the artichoke, trim away the tough outer leaves and slice off the top.  Halve the artichoke and remove the hairy choke.  Cut into thin slices.  Place in a bowl with cold water and lemon juice to prevent them from darkening.

To simplify the process, have all your ingredients prepared and measured before you start cooking the risotto.

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet and sauté the onion until softened.  Add the asparagus, zucchini and peas and sauté on high heat for a few minutes.  Add the rice, mix through the vegetables to coat well.  Season with salt and pepper, add the wine and allow it to bubble away.  Add 2 cups of hot broth, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the broth has been absorbed.  Add another cup of hot broth, stirring gently.  Do not allow the risotto to get too dry.  Continue to add a cup of hot broth when necessary as it is absorbed, for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.  Remove from heat and gently add butter, parmesan and parsley.

Just before your risotto is ready, drain the artichokes, pat dry with paper towels and lightly dip each side in flour.  Using a non stick skillet cover the bottom with olive oil and fry artichokes until golden and crisp on both sides.  Transfer onto paper towels to s0ak off excessive oil.

Serve the risotto with a heap of fried artichokes, fresh mint and extra parmesan.

Serves 4.

buon appetite!

swiss chard risotto with chicken meatballs (risotto alla erbette con polpettine di pollo)

March 12, 2013 § 2 Comments

Usually on Monday I like to prepare a simple meal that does not require too many dishes, pots, time and thought.   However, last night something came over me and I took on a pretty significant cooking endeavor.  I made swiss chard risotto with chicken meatballs.  I found the recipe in La Cucina Italiana.  The entree was sensational!  Since the recipe came from the hard copy magazine, and they did not feature it on their website, I am unable to link it, so I will share it with you here.  This is why I love cooking.  While preparing this I didn’t feel rushed at all.  I went into it knowing there was a little more to it and I felt such a sense of quietude. Since I work full time, too often I’m rushed to get it on the table because it’s getting late in the evening and there are still too many things to do before bedtime.  We especially enjoyed the meatballs using finely chopped chicken thighs rather than ground chicken.  This step was the most time consuming, but highly recommended.

This recipe is exactly the same words as were used originally in the magazine. It did indeed take 1 hour, 45 minutes and I think it was more like 4 servings, rather than 6 servings.  But then we had this as a one dish meal.  No sides.


1 hour, 45 minutes / 6 servings

Homemade chicken broth made with thigh bones deepens the flavor of the risotto.  If time is tight, substitute 4 cups store-bought, low-sodium broth combined with 2 cups water.  If using store-bought broth, use 3/4 pound boneless thigh meat or swap in ground chicken.


  • 1 pound skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 leafy thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fine sea salt


  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped carrot
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 leafy sage sprig
  • 1 leafy thyme sprig
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine


  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, gently smashed and peeled
  • 1 bunch swiss chard (about 3/4 pound), leaves finely chopped
  • fine sea salt
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Step 1.  FOR BROTH:  Remove skin and bones from chicken thighs; set aside meat.  In a large, wide saucepan, combine skin and bones, onion, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaf, wine a pinch of salt and 6 cups of water.  Bring just to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a gentle simmer, cook 45 minutes.  Meanwhile prepare meatballs.

Step 2.  FOR MEATBALLS:  Cut reserved chicken into small cubes, then finely chop.  In a large bowl, soak bread in milk until softened about 1 minute.  Squeeze out excess milk and place back into the bowl with chicken, parsley, salt and pepper.  Mix until just combined well.  (do not over mix). then form 1-teaspoon portions into 1 1/4 inch balls.

Step 3.  In a large heavy saucepan, arrange meatballs in a single layer.  Add carrot, butter, sage and thyme.  Cook, covered, over medium heat, 10 minutes.  Add wine; bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes more; remove and discard herbs.  Remove pan from heat; cover to keep warm.

Step 4.  FOR RISOTTO:  In large saucepan with lid, heat 2 tablespoons oil and garlic, over medium heat.  Add chard and pinch salt, cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until chard is tender, 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove and discard garlic, set aside chard.

Step 5.  Strain broth into a saucepan through a fine-mesh sieve, cover to keep warm (if using store-bought broth, bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and cover to keep warm).  In a medium saucepan, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat; add shallot. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add rice; cook, stirring, 1 minute, then add wine.  Cook, stirring, until liquid is mostly absorbed.  Add 1/2 cup broth; cook, stirring frequently, until broth is mostly absorbed.  Continue adding broth in 1/2 cupfuls, stirring frequently, and allowing each addition to mostly absorb before adding the next, until rice is tender yet still slightly firm to the bite.  (You may have broth leftover).

 Step 6.  Stir in chard, cheese, butter and , if using homemade unseasoned broth 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Serve risotto immediately with meatball and their broth.

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