Photos courtesy Chronicle Books 2019
Reprinted from Every Day Is Saturday by Sarah Copeland with permission by Chronicle Books, 2019.
When we lived in New York City, we had a farmers’ market half a block from our front steps. Every Wednesday, we’d stroll down the block with Greta and let her pick three vegetables for dinner that night. Her combinations were good challenges for my cooking muscle. When summer slipped into fall one cool morning, we brought home corn, kale, and young purple carrots, and this dish was born.
Risotto is the ultimate comfort food — warm and filling — and when it comes right down to it, easier than most of us believe. Make this with your favorite vegetables in any season, adding more if you’re a veggie-centric sort, or less if you want mostly soothing rice. The white risotto combo (onion, rice, white wine, Parm) is a classic and morphs readily to your whim.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking vegetables
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups (400 g) Arborio rice
2⁄3 cup (160 ml) dry white wine
5 to 5½ cups (1.2 to 1.3 L) chicken broth or water, warm
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp (½ stick/56 g) unsalted butter
1 bunch young heirloom carrots (about 6), trimmed and scrubbed, halved lengthwise
½ bunch (45 g) Tuscan kale, larger leaves torn or cut into pieces (about 3 cups)
2 ears corn, kernels cut from the cob
½ cup (15 g) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more coarsely grated for garnish
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Stir in the wine and cook until the wine has evaporated, 1 minute more.
Stir in 2 cups (480 ml) of the warm broth and salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Add ½ cup (120 ml) of the broth and continue stirring, adding more broth ½ cup (120 ml) at a time, until the liquid has evaporated and the rice is al dente, 20 to 25 minutes. Most of the liquid should be absorbed and the rice just cooked, with about ½ cup (120 ml) broth remaining.
While the rice cooks, heat another 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the carrots and brown slightly. Add enough water to come about one-third of the way up the carrots and cook until just fork tender, but still deep in color. Add the kale and stir to wilt, 5 minutes more. Add the corn and cook until the kernels turn bright yellow but are still crisp, 1 minute more. Season the vegetables well and use a slotted spoon to remove them from the liquid.
Stir in another ½ cup (120 ml) broth to the risotto as needed; add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and the cheese and stir. Stir in the vegetables, or serve the risotto in bowls topped with the warm vegetables and coarsely grated Parmesan.
Though risotto should always be served fresh and hot from the stove, when it is creamy, you can stop risotto midway, before your rice is cooked through. Cook just until the rice is soft on the outside, but still firm in the middle, about 10 minutes.
Remove it from the heat and transfer it to a plate to cool (or, if you’re in a hurry, set the pan down outside, covered, on a cool day to stop the cooking).
Cover with plastic wrap and let it hang out at room temperature for up to 8 hours. When you’re ready to eat, jump back in where you left off, adding warm broth, until the rice is cooked through and creamy throughout. As always, prep and refrigerate your vegetables in an airtight container for up to 2 days.