We are almost there–T minus four days until move in and much of our big renovating will be done as of tomorrow. We will be living without kitchen counters for a couple of weeks once we move in, as well as without a stove and sink for a while, so this may well be the last blog post I write for a bit as I see Co-Op deli dinners and eating out in some of our future. But we’re excited to create this new home together, and hopefully to have all of you there eating meals around a table together in the near future!
Today we were at the house after work checking out the kitchen progress. As always, I was wondering what I might be able to cook with little food in the cabinet, and most of our pots and pans packed away. A few days ago, while tilling our second raised bed, I pulled out what I assumed were irises so I could transplant them elsewhere, but quickly found that I’d pulled up some kind of onion. They looked like really large green onions, with a leek-like stem, and leaves like irises. They wer actually ramps.
Ramps are kind of an Appalachian thing–people down here eat them with beans and cornbread or sauteed with bacon grease. Now I’m wishing I didn’t pull all of them, because I should definitely plant some more for next season–apparently they’re actually a protected species in some places! Anyhow, with my surplus of ramps, and some radish plants still needing thinning, I figured I’d make some kind of risotto–my go to “everything but the kitchen sink” solution.
Of course, I realized once we were home that we didn’t have any white wine in the house, so I figured I’d try gin–why not, and the juniper/herbally flavors I thought might be nice with spring onions and radishes. We also didn’t have any cheese, which is all the better since I really shouldn’t eat it, so the key to cheeseless risotto is adding butter at the end–what the French call monter au beurre–in order to emulsify everything and give it some rich mouthfeel. Frozen peas (one of my favorite go to pantry items) and lemon juice rounded it out.
I’m excited to have put this together on a whim, and look forward to taking advantage of more Appalachian indigenous ingredients, like ramps. Enjoy!
Ramp Risotto with Lemon, Peas, and Radishes
- 1.5 C. Arborio rice
- 5.5 C. veggie stock
- 1/2 C. gin
- 1 Tb. olive oil
- 2 Tbs. butter, divided
- 1 large bunch ramps
- 1 large bunch of radish greens and baby radishes, chopped
- 1/2 to 3/4 C. frozen peas
- Zest and juice of one lemon
Heat the veggie stock in a large pot. In the meantime, heat the olive oil and 1 Tb. of the butter in a heavy pan over medium. Clean the leeks well of any dirt and chop off most of the green leaves. Cut off the bottoms, and similarly to leeks, peel off the outer layer and rinse well to get rid of dirt. Chop ramps fine. Saute the ramps in the olive oil and butter over medium until tender. Add the rice and stir, coating well, for 1 minute. Add the gin and stir until absorbed. Start adding in the stock, about a cup or so at a time. Simmer and stir, adding more until you’ve used a little more than half of the stock. Stir in the radishes and radish greens.
When you’ve added in your last ladle of stock, stir in the frozen peas and cook slowly till most of the stock is absorbed. Add in the lemon juice and zest and stir. Add in the remaining Tb. of butter and stir till melted. Serve hot with plenty of fresh ground black pepper. Serves 4-6.