The street outside is calm. The birds are chirping. It’s eight in the morning, and I cannot recall the last time I woke up this early on a weekend.
A cup of earl grey with a dash of milk, I curl up on my couch to read the newspaper. I could stay here all day, reading and sipping tea, seeing as the sky is cloudy and overcast. But, I promised myself I would make an early morning trip to the farmer’s market in the off chance I might actually wake up early. And I did.
So, I find myself farmer’s market bound, walking through the relatively quiet streets of New York. Here and there, people are walking their dogs or grabbing their morning cup of coffee, but the brunch set has yet to come out. They are still sleeping, I presume.
The farmer’s market, on the other hand, is bustling with life, despite this chilly spring day. People are shopping for food, photographing the beautiful flowers and the fresh produce, sipping on warm apple cider. Meanwhile, I spot a gorgeous pile of ramps, another one of spring’s prized vegetables, along with fava beans, pea shoots, fiddlehead ferns, morel mushrooms… I purchase a bunch of ramps from the smiling young farmer before proceeding to the stand where I bought last week’s pea shoots. I’m back for more. I couldn’t get enough.
Two of spring’s wonderful ingredients in hand, and the unusually nippy weather, lead me to one conclusion: a heart warming, creamy risotto.
Having learned the art of risotto-making during my first trip to Italy, I know that the challenge is achieving the perfectly creamy consistency of the rice. As far as ingredients go, you can put just about anything into a risotto – vegetables, meat, seafood, you name it and likely it will be scrumptious. And, while I’ve made various risottos before, I have never prepared a ramp risotto. So, a ramp risotto is would be. And then, I figured, why not add some asparagus and a handful of peas? I’ll make it a spring risotto!
A spring risotto it was. Creamy, luscious rice, flavored with parmigiano reggiano and dotted with ramps, asparagus, and peas. It was warming and comforting, yet fresh and springy. It was early spring in a bowl.
Next time, I think I might make a pea and pea shoot risotto. That’s totally up my alley. Not yours?
Spring Risotto of Ramps, Asparagus and Peas
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
6 cups broth (vegetable or chicken broth)
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
1 bunch ramps, cleaned, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, leaving green tops intact
1 bunch green asparagus, trimmed, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parmigiano reggiano for garnish
Heat the broth over low heat.
Over medium heat, sauté the finely chopped onion in olive oil, until translucent. Add the garlic. Continue stirring for another minute. Add the rice, stirring until the grains become translucent. Add the white wine. Once the wine is absorbed, add a cup of the warm broth, continually stirring. As the rice absorbs the broth, continue adding a cup of broth at a time, constantly stirring until the rice is al dente (approximately 30 minutes). Incorporate the 1/4 of parmigiano reggiano, ramps, asparagus, peas, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes until the green tops of the ramps are wilted, and the asparagus and the peas are cooked, yet still crisp. Transfer to individual bowls or one large serving dish. Garnish with shavings of fresh parmigiano reggiano. Serve immediately.
Note: the key to a delicious risotto is to stir, stir, stir.