200g Acquerello rice
Two spring onions
One stalk of green garlic
4 sprigs of fresh mint
For the stock
One stalk of green garlic
2 oyster mushrooms
8 chestnut mushrooms
100g fresh peas
Olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste
Chopping board and knife
Two medium sized pots
Rubber spatula or wooden spoon
Strainer or sieve
Ladel or measuring cylinder
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Serves 2-3 people
For the stock 1. Peel and roughly chop the carrot and onion and add to a medium sized pot filled with 1 litre of water. 2. Check and wash the green parts of the leek as soil is prone to getting trapped in there. Cut the leek in half and rinse out with cold water if necessary. Roughly chop into small pieces, along with the green garlic and Maltese celery and add directly to the pot. 3. Maltese celery is known locally as karfus and is a wonderful unique ingredient with the flavour of celery and lovage.
4. Add the peppercorns and bay leaves and bring the pot of water up to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes. This is a great time to start preparing the rest of your ingredients!
5. Turn off the heat and strain the stock, reserving in a measuring cylinder or pot, ready to make the risotto.
For the sautéed mushrooms
6. Tear the oyster mushrooms into large strips and cut the chestnut mushrooms in half vertically. Place a frying pan over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
7. Once the oil is hot, place the mushrooms into the pan. Do not crowd the pan or the mushrooms will not brown well, work in multiple batches if necessary. Season with a good pinch of salt. Allow the mushrooms to brown well on one side and then turn over. Allow the other side to get some colour. Once well browned, remove from the pan and reserve for the risotto.
For the risotto
8. Begin by preparing your ingredients. Thinly slice the spring onion and separate the green pieces from the white. Finely grate your parmesan cheese and cut your butter into roughly chopped cubes. Finely chop the mint leaves.
9. Place a medium-sized pot or saucepan over medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the white part of the sliced spring onion and green garlic together with a pinch of salt. Sweat the vegetables until softened.
10. Add the rice to the pan and cook while stirring for 2 minutes to toast the rice. Add roughly 300ml of stock using a measuring cylinder or ladle and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring gently throughout with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to prevent the rice from sticking.
11. Add another 300ml of stock once the liquid in the pan has reduced to almost nothing. Cook over medium heat while stirring gently for a further 5 minutes.
If you do not plan on cooking the risotto immediately you can quickly cool and reserve the rice at this stage and heat it up to order with the rest of the garnishes later
12. Once the liquid has evaporated again taste the risotto and check to see how far along the cooking process the rice is. If the rice is still quite hard, add another 300ml of stock along with the peas and mushrooms. Keep cooking until the liquid has almost completely reduced and the rice is tender but still retains some texture. Add small amounts of stock at a time and keep stirring until it’s finished to your liking.
13. Once the risotto is cooked and ready to be finished, remove from the heat and fold in the cubed butter and half of the parmesan. Fold with a spatula off the heat until the parmesan and butter are incorporated well. Adjust the seasoning to your liking with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
14. Fold in the chopped mint and serve, finishing with the remainder of the parmesan and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper.