Sunday, 6 May 2012

Morel risotto with buttery hop shoots

The Hop shoots are going wild in my neck of the woods. Thin green tendrils snake through the hedgerows, twisting upwards towards the sky in a flourish of Spring exuberance. It took me minutes to pinch off a large bowful this morning. I quite like crunching on them raw, but they're equally tasty quickly cooked through with a little butter.

2 Large garlic gloves, finely chopped
8 Shallots, finely chopped
1 Bay leaf
A good splash of white wine
8 Large Fresh or dried Morels, chopped (if dried, keep the water that you've soaked the mushrooms in, to add to your stock)
300g Arborio risotto rice
1 - 1.5 Litres hot Chicken or vegetable stock (kept hot of the hob)
75g Hard goat's cheese, grated
25g Unsalted butter
A large handful of Hop shoots
25g Unsalted butter
Salt and pepper

1 Melt a knob of butter in a pan and soften the garlic and shallots in a splash of olive on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly. Stir in the rice, bay and mushrooms, then continue stirring until the rice grains start to look transparent. Pour in the wine, leave for a few minutes, then begin to gradually add the stock. Add it slowly, a ladle at a time and only add more when the liquid has been absorbed. After about 25 minutes the risotto should look rich and creamy, and the rice should be cooked (while still retaining a bit of bite). Season to taste. Just before serving stir in 25g of the goat's cheese and a good-sized knob of butter, to add an additional sheen of glossy richness.
2 For the buttery hop shoots, simply melt 25g of butter in a pan, then flash the shoots in the heat for 3-5 minutes. Season, then spoon on top of the risotto, with an extra grating of cheese for good measure.

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