This recipe was inspired by a risotto we ate recently in the Torstrasse, Berlin, in a restaurant called “Lava”. Their risotto was intriguing – barely any rice in sight, it was hiding beneath a mound of delicious mixed greens and strips of what appeared to be carrot. The orange carrot around the sides of the plate turned out to be fine strips of Mimolette.
This is a cheese traditionally produced in Lille but made in the tradition of dutch Edam, so if you can’t find Mimolette cheese, Edam will work well. We used strips of soft Pecorino as that’s what we had in our kitchen! For those giving dairy a wide berth, this risotto tastes delicious without the cheese.
I prefer cooking my risottos in a very large pan – that way I can see all the ingredients & add more colour if necessary.
Serves 2-4 depending on starter or main
250g arborio rice
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 small leek, finely sliced
1 small bunch each of dill & basil; 1/4- 1/2 small bunch tarragon, all chopped
small handful of parsley, finely chopped
200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced or chopped to your taste (or any mushroom with a strong flavour)
3 generous handfuls of roughly chopped baby spinach
1 red chicory, sliced – a handful of rucola/rocket also works
2 garlic, crushed
1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1.2 litres hot strong vegetable stock…more depending on how well you like it cooked
a generous dollop of light olive oil or coconut oil
optional: 25g finely sliced Edam cheese
In a large pan, gently fry the chopped onion in the oil until transparent; add the leek until softened, then the mushrooms. Stir to avoid ‘catching’.
Mix in the chopped herbs then add the arborio rice and coat well.
Add a ladle of the hot broth and wait until the rice mixture has absorbed the liquid. Then continue adding the broth, a ladle at a time, stirring to avoid the mixture sticking to the pan.
The amount of stock may differ according to your taste – some prefer risotto ‘al dente’, others like it well cooked. If you need less liquid, well and good, however should you want to cook it longer, then just add a little extra broth or hot water.
When the risotto is almost done to your taste, add the garlic, grated apple, chopped greens and chicory and stir into the mix so the greens are just wilting. Do a taste check; add a little sea salt or pepper if desired.
Serve as is, or decorate your plate with finely grated strips of Edam, then place the hot risotto on top.