Risotto with nettles and carrots Risotto with nettles and carrots Israeli Kitchen Risotto with nettles and carrots (Photo: Miriam Kresh)

Risotto with nettles and carrots

Nettles bring a different and delicious flavor to conventional risotto.

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  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour

Rice goes well with the unique, dark flavor of nettles. I was thinking of that this morning when putting away a bunch of dried nettles into glass jars. So I made this risotto. With the melting flavors of vegetables and cheese and the slight chewiness of arborio rice, it’s one of the most delicious things I’ve cooked this week. The nettles warm the body and give you energy, too.

You can use chard, kale or spinach if you don't have access to nettles, or if nettles aren't your thing. And a word of caution: make 100 percent sure that what you have is nettles. If you're not familiar with the weed, find a website that identifies edible weeds and look at several photographs so that you pick the right one. Not every weed is edible.

This recipe starts with a vegetable stock (recipe below). It's worth making your own for the delicious flavor and the nutrition – and it's so easy to make.

Ingredients

    Vegetable stock

  • 1 medium onion, thickly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 stalk of celery, with leaves, chopped
  • 1 carrot, thickly sliced
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes (or one medium-sized regular tomato), halved
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups water
  • A tiny pinch of saffron
  • Risotto with nettles and carrots

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup risotto rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup fresh nettles, or 1/2 cup dried
  • The carrot slices out of the stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese, preferably Parmesan
  • Salt
  • More butter and Parmesan

Directions

For the vegetable stock:

Bring the stock ingredients to a boil, then lower the flame to simmer the broth. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes.

Remove the carrot slices from the stock. Allow to cool a little, then chop them into chunks. Set aside.

Chopped nettlesChopped nettles (Photo: Kostrez/Shutterstock)

For the risotto:

Chop the nettles. Mine were dry and crisp, so I found it easier to cut them up with scissors.

Put the olive oil into a medium-sized pot. Add the chopped onion, and start to cook it over medium heat. The onion should cook until translucent, not at all brown.

Add the rice and stir, allowing it to absorb the oil as much as possible but not allowing it to brown.

Add the wine, and stir. Watch the rice – the liquid should be absorbed before the next steps. The rice will be only partly cooked.

At this stage, you can make out the pocks indicating that the liquid is almost absorbed.

Add a cupful of vegetable stock; stir. Let it almost become absorbed.

Add another cupful of stock; stir and do the same. The rice will be somewhat soupy at this point. Taste, and adjust the salt if you need to.

Add the chopped nettles and the carrot chunks; stir, of course.

Add the last of the stock. Stir and let the rice cook another 5 minutes.

Add the tablespoon of butter and the cheese. Stir well and serve as soon as the cheese has melted.

Add more butter and cheese at the table, if desired.

So comforting, so good! We ate it down to the last grain.

Related Topics: Mediterranean, Vegetarian

Recipes from the Israeli KitchenRecipes from the Israeli Kitchen
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