This totally started off as an “I need to use things up and make dinner” dish. But it turned out really well. Walnuts go really well with vegetables in savory dishes and added a subtle complexity to the flavor of this dish. Actually, this dish is all about subtle. And how lots of different subtleties together can create something rich and beautiful. This is not a dish where any one flavor “pops” or stands out, but where a number of flavors marry and blend together to create something synergistically delectable. One note – use homemade broth if you can, the flavor will be immensely better, and I really enjoy having some control over the saltiness of my dish. For my broth I used some leftover from when I last boiled an artichoke. I think this really made the dish. So, go have yourself a great mini meal of some boiled artichoke dipped in yummy herb garlic butter the day before, and then make this risotto! Ok, I understand not everyone is in love with artichokes the same way I am. But I will at least advocate getting in the habit of making homemade veg. broth and using some here!
1 head garlic, 3 tbs EVOO
1 shallot, chopped
3/4 cup arborio rice
2 tbs. EVOO
juice of a lemon
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup ground toasted walnuts (I actually keep this in my pantry and make large batches at once – it’s also great in pancakes or waffles or for making cheesecake crusts)
1 tsp. herbes de provence
salt & pepper
1 bunch asparagus, chopped
1 cup peas, choppped
1/4 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
4 oz. cheese, grated (I used parm, but gruyere would work nicely here as well)
1. Chop off the tops of each clove of garlic in the garlic head, and place head in a small bowl. Pour 3 tbs. EVOO on top, and roast in oven at 300 F for at least 1 hr, until browned and soft. Save the garlic pieces! It is best to do this step about an hour before you start the actual risotto.
2. In pot with large surface area, add in EVOO, garlic pieces, and shallot. Saute on med-high for 2 min, then add in rice. Saute one more minute. Meanwhile, start broth simmering in a separate pot on the stove.
3. Add a splash of sherry to the rice and squeeze of lemon, stirring while you do. After another minute or so, add in about 1/2 cup of broth, and turn heat down to med, or so is just simmering. At this point add in your walnuts and veggies and seasonings.
4. Gradually add broth a little at a time stirring fairly frequently, until the rice is plump and soft.
5. Once risotto is done, add in your grated cheese and toss in your roasted garlic.
6. Serve and enjoy!