On Saturday I made a deliciously simple Wild Garlic Risotto. The Girl managed to track down some wild garlic (also known as Ramsons) from the Pimlico Green Farmer's Market. If you live in the country, you might be able to find some growing in woodlands. They're currently in season.
I'm very keen on "simple food done well"- it's becoming a mantra. This fitted the bill perfectly.
I chopped up a small onion and sautéed it in hot butter. Next, I added Carnaroli rice and let the rice soak up the hot butter. I ladelled in a small quantity of hot, steaming vegetable stock and stirred like mad, until the rice had absorbed the stock. Then, I carried on ladelling in the hot stock until the Carnaroli rice was "ready".
This is the art of risotto making. You want the rice grains to remain firm (with a "bite") yet, at the same time, to be bound up in a creamy, starchy, slightly soupy liquid. If you make it properly, this might take about half an hour. Beat the rice like mad- as this releases the starch from the grains.
I'm currently in favour of Carnaroli rice: I find that this makes a slightly creamier risotto, although of course, arborio rice would be fine too.
We're off to Venice in a few days time, and no doubt we'll bring back some proper Italian risotto rice to add to the larder. I've got a theory that the Italians keep back the best rice for themselves, and fob off the rest of Europe with lesser brands.
Anyway, back to the Wild Garlic Risotto. About ten minutes from the end, add the chopped up Wild Garlic. It comes in the form of slightly limp, green leaves (not entirely unlike spinach) and you use these chopped leaves, rather than the bulb. Unlike the standard variety, Wild Garlic has a very subtle taste, so I would recommend that you add quite a bit of the stuff: the risotto can certainly take it. I was also keen on the idea of turning the risotto a green colour- this will happen if you add enough. Check the seasoning and when you reckon the risotto's ready, add a small dash of white wine. This will stop the risotto from cooking.
I served the risotto with some fried shallots- for extra crunch, but The Girl pointed out that the dish didn't need it- and she was absolutely right, as I have to admit, she often is. I would recommend that you more or less leave the risotto as it is, but top it off with a small helping of grated Parmesan- or indeed, a British cheese. Why not?