As a food blogger, I never know where the inspiration for my next recipe will come from, but that’s the fun part. I was snail-paced walking around Liberty Heights Fresh the other day, overtaken by so many lovely ingredients and ripe produce, when I ran into some dear friends – Casee and John. We started talking about spring ingredients and recipes, then John told me about the most beautiful risotto I’ve ever heard described. He had recently created a creamy spring-time risotto with the full flavor of fennel shining through and bright spring favas garnishing the dish. He made it sound so simple and so fresh, so without other considerations I decided, this is what would be for dinner.
As I continued walking around the market, I spotted some bright purple radicchio, something I have little to no experience with. John explained to me a simple way of cooking the radicchio, in Italian-style, which just sounded perfect to pair with the risotto. I picked up one head of radicchio but was kindly interrupted when John said, “Oh no, you’ll need at least another one of those, Casee and I would be fighting over the few bites if I only made one.” So, without further ado, I filled my bag with bright green favas and fennel and a few heads of radicchio.
When I returned home I quickly jotted down the recipe details for the two dishes. They weren’t complex notes, just a few tips John had given to create this easy spring Italian meal. When it came time for cooking, I went back through the notes and Josh and I went to work. The radicchio cooks for about the same time as the risotto, so we each took a dish to create and finished around the same time. The favas were a little more time consuming than I thought (cook, peal, cook, peal, then cook again) but their flavor proved worth it!
We found this meal perfect to showcase what’s in season and could easily be adapted to other seasonal ingredients. If it’s fall, try butternut squash or during the summer try this with corn and chard. The most stunning part of the dish will be the bright seasonal produce that you choose to accompany it!
What is your favorite risotto dish? Leave a comment with your favorite spring dish to be entered to win all of the ingredients to make this Spring Risotto from Liberty Heights Fresh. (must be in Salt Lake City to win). Winner will be announced Friday the 10th.
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced thin
- 2 cups of risotto rice (arborio)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1-2 lbs fava beans
- 1 cup Parmesan
- fennel fronds, chopped for garnish
- Saute the onion and sliced fennel bulb in the olive oil until translucent (about 3-5 minutes).
- Add in the rice and stir until evenly coated.
- Add 1/2 cup white wine and simmer until absorbed.
- Gradually add in the broth 1/2 cup at a time, letting the rice absorb the broth before adding more. Keep rice at a brisk simmer and stir constantly adding more broth when absorbed.
- Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water to a boil. Remove beans from fava bean pods. Cook the beans in the water for 2 minutes then immediately transfer the beans to a bowl of ice cold water. From here, it should be easy to remove the outer layer of skin off the fava beans. Peel skin off then saute the favas in a little oil for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Once rice is cooked to al dente and has absorbed all of the broth (about 18-25 minutes), stir in the parmesan and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from heat and divide among plates. Top with fava beans and chopped fennel fronds for garnish.
- Serve with sauteed radicchio (optional).
- 2 heads of radicchio
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Slice radicchio in half vertically and remove the hard core.
- Cook, cut side down, over medium heat until browned (about 5 minutes).
- Then, break the lettuce apart and sauté over medium low for about 20 minutes (or until risotto is also done cooking).
- Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
This can be served as a side dish or on top of the risotto.