All images © Dina Avila 2013
Just a quick couple of recipes for you today taking advantage of the abundance of spring veggies we have in the markets this season. The risotto, although time-consuming, will knock your socks off. Feel free to make it with traditional arborio rice. Especially if you want a dish that’s lighter for warmer weather. I was more in the mood for a healthy, stick to your gut kind of a dish and this risotto surely delivers. We were full after half a bowl. One thing I forgot to pick up for this dish was creme fraiche. If you plan on making this recipe then I suggest picking some up and adding either a couple of spoonfuls at the end of cooking, or a dollop with each bowl. Save some for the souffles, too, as I think it would be an excellent addition to the dessert….and a great way to mask the fact that the souffles have sunken :)
Spring Farro Risotto
2 cups shelled fresh fava beans
8-10 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 pound crimini mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large leeks, white and pale green parts, halved, rinsed well and sliced
1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups farro, rinsed and soaked in cool water for a minimum of 30 minutes
1 cup dry white wine
2 large handfuls arugula, torn
1 1/2 cups grated pecorino romano, plus more for shaving
1/4 chopped chives, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and add shelled fava beans.
Let cook for 1-2 minutes, drain and place beans in an ice bath until cool.
Place cooled beans in a small bowl and set aside.
Pour chicken broth into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to low and cover to keep warm.
Melt 1 tablespoon of your butter in a large dutch oven or other heavy pot.
Add mushrooms a cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until tender.
Spoon cooked mushrooms into the bowl with the fava beans.
Warm oil and remaining tablespoon of butter in same pot and add leeks, fennel and garlic.
Stir frequently for about 4 minutes until the veggies soften.
Add the drained farro and stir to coat for about 2 minutes.
Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated. About 4 minutes.
Add 1 cup of the broth and cook stirring frequently until the broth is almost absorbed.
Add remaining broth, one cup at a time allowing the broth to be absorbed before adding more.
Cook in this manner for about 50 minutes, until all broth is absorbed and the farro is tender yet chewy.
Add more or less broth as needed.
Stir in arugula, pecorino, chives, favas and mushrooms and let cook, stirring, until arugula is wilted and the cheese is melted. About 2 minutes.
Spoon risotto into warmed bowls, sprinkle with chopped chives and shavings of pecorino.
Sunken Lemon Souffles
2 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons whole wheat flour
Zest and juice from one lemon
1 1/2 cups hemp milk
3 eggs, separated
Pinch of sea salt
Warm your oven to 350
In a large bowl bring the sugar and flour and salt together and with the butter and press with your fingers until crumbly.
Stir in the lemon juice and zest.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks.
Stir the milk into the yolks and fold into the flour mixture.
In a smaller bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into the batter.
Ladle the batter into ramekins or jam jars.
Add hot water to a pan about 1-2 inches deep.
Place jars and ramekins into the pan and place in the warmed oven.
Cook for about 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking, until the tops of the souffles are golden brown.