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Cook Like a Chef: Nettle Risotto With Roasted Artichokes

Cook Like a Chef: Nettle Risotto With Roasted Artichokes

Nettle Risotto with Roasted Artichokes

A puree of stinging nettles gives this risotto it’s bright green color. Garnished with roasted artichokes, snap peas and lemon zest, the dish is fresh and full of spring and summer flavors.

This nettle risotto with roasted artichokes is a fresh and seasonal dish that bridges the gap between spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The recipe comes from Le Jardiner, a Michelin-Starred French restaurant led by Chef Alain Verzeroli, putting a laser focus on vegetables.

Risotto is such a comforting dish that many of us enjoy during colder months. It’s like a form of therapy, similar to re-watching Gilmore Girls in the fall for the 10th time. However, we can also enjoy this culinary classic in the warmer months by adding spring and summer centric ingredients such as artichokes and stinging nettles. Nettles has a flavor that falls somewhere between a vegetable and an herb, and a sublime color, they’re like a bolder, brighter version of spinach (which you can use instead of nettles, if you don’t have access to them).

Chef Verzeroli begins by poaching artichokes in a mixture of white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, sugar, and various herbs. After poaching, the artichokes are set aside. When making the risotto, he roasts the poached artichokes and snap peas with a bit of vegetable stock. Finally, the roasted artichokes are used to garnish the dish.

Next he prepares a stinging nettles puree which gives the risotto its vibrant green color. When handling the nettles, gloves are necessary. After cleaning them, Verzeroli blanches the nettles in hot water and then blends them with salt until smooth. The puree is then cooled over ice to preserve its color and set aside for later use.

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The final step is the rice. The chef begins by sautéing onions with olive oil before adding rice and white wine. Once the white wine has evaporated, he gradually adds the vegetable stock in thirds. He then seasons with butter, mascarpone, grated Parmesan cheese, and fresh black pepper, which gives it a nice creamy consistency. When the rice is al dente, he adds in the nettles puree. Finally, when he plates the risotto, he garnishes it with roasted artichokes, snap peas, and lemon zest. Once you’ve made this recipe a few times and you have the technique down, risotto will be easy to whip up after a busy day. Just turn on some good music, pour a glass of wine, and unwind as you stir.

Nettle Risotto with Roasted Artichokes


How to Make Nettle Risotto


Poaching the Artichokes

  1. Prepare the Artichokes:
    • Clean the artichokes by removing the hard leaves and stems. Cut them in half and remove the hairy choke.
  2. Boil the Poaching Liquid:
    • In a medium pot, bring 3 quarts of water, rosemary, thyme, parsley, shallot, garlic, bay leaves, lemon peel, pink peppercorns, white wine, sugar, champagne vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil to a boil.
  3. Poach the Artichokes:
    • Add the prepared artichokes to the boiling liquid. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
    • Remove from heat and let the artichokes cool in the liquid.

Making the Stinging Nettle Puree

  1. Prepare the Nettles:
    • Using gloves, remove the nettle leaves from the stems. Wash the leaves with cold water, removing any debris, and dry them.
  2. Blanch the Nettles:
    • Bring a pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Boil the nettle leaves for 2 minutes until tender.
    • Shock the nettle leaves in an ice bath to preserve their color. Do not discard the blanching water.
  3. Blend the Puree:
    • Using a blender, add the blanched nettles, a little hot blanching water, and salt. Blend until smooth.
    • Cool the puree over ice to preserve its color and season with salt to taste.

Preparing the Risotto

  1. Cook the Onions and Rice:
    • In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil. Sweat the onions until translucent without browning.
    • Add the arborio rice and toast until it becomes glossy.
  2. Deglaze with Wine:
    • Add the white wine and cook until the wine is fully absorbed.
  3. Add the Stock:
    • Once the wine is absorbed, add the vegetable stock to the rice in thirds, stirring frequently until each addition is absorbed before adding the next.
  4. Roast Artichokes and Snap Peas:
    • While the rice is cooking, roast the poached artichokes and snap peas in a separate pan with a bit of vegetable stock.
  5. Finish the Risotto:
    • Season the risotto with salt and black pepper. Stir in the mascarpone and butter to add creaminess.
    • When the rice is al dente, remove from heat. Stir in the nettle puree and grated Parmesan cheese. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper if needed.
  6. Plate the Dish:
    • Plate the risotto in the center of each dish. Top with roasted artichokes and snap peas.
    • Garnish with microplaned lemon zest, pea shoots, and clover sorrel.

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Nettle Risotto with Roasted Artichokes

Nettle Risotto With Roasted Artichokes


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  • Author: Chef Alain Verzeroli of Le Jardiner
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Description

A puree of stinging nettles gives this risotto it’s bright green color. Garnished with roasted artichokes, snap peas and lemon zest, the dish is fresh and full of spring and summer flavors.


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Artichoke Poaching Liquid:

  • 4 artichokes
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 5 tsp thyme
  • 2 g parsley
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 2 g pink peppercorns
  • 3 qt water (2.8 liters)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (120 ml)
  • 1 cup sugar (200 g)
  • 1 cup champagne vinegar (240 ml)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (120 ml)
  • Salt to taste

For the Stinging Nettle Puree:

  • 8.8 oz nettles (250 g)
  • Blanching water
  • Salt to taste

For the Arborio Rice:

  • 1 cup arborio rice (200 g)
  • 2 Spanish onions, finely chopped
  • 1 quart vegetable stock (950 ml)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (120 ml)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (50 g)
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone cheese (30 g)
  • 1 tbsp butter (14 g)
  • 1/2 cup snap peas, cleaned (50 g)
  • Clover sorrel, for garnish
  • Pea shoots, for garnish
  • Lemon zest, for garnish
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

Instructions

Poaching the Artichokes

  1. Prepare the Artichokes:
    • Clean the artichokes by removing the hard leaves and stems. Cut them in half and remove the hairy choke.
  2. Boil the Poaching Liquid:
    • In a medium pot, bring 3 quarts of water, rosemary, thyme, parsley, shallot, garlic, bay leaves, lemon peel, pink peppercorns, white wine, sugar, champagne vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil to a boil.
  3. Poach the Artichokes:
    • Add the prepared artichokes to the boiling liquid. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
    • Remove from heat and let the artichokes cool in the liquid.

Making the Stinging Nettle Puree

  1. Prepare the Nettles:
    • Using gloves, remove the nettle leaves from the stems. Wash the leaves with cold water, removing any debris, and dry them.
  2. Blanch the Nettles:
    • Bring a pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Boil the nettle leaves for 2 minutes until tender.
    • Shock the nettle leaves in an ice bath to preserve their color. Do not discard the blanching water.
  3. Blend the Puree:
    • Using a blender, add the blanched nettles, a little hot blanching water, and salt. Blend until smooth.
    • Cool the puree over ice to preserve its color and season with salt to taste.

Preparing the Risotto

  1. Cook the Onions and Rice:
    • In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil. Sweat the onions until translucent without browning.
    • Add the arborio rice and toast until it becomes glossy.
  2. Deglaze with Wine:
    • Add the white wine and cook until the wine is fully absorbed.
  3. Add the Stock:
    • Once the wine is absorbed, add the vegetable stock to the rice in thirds, stirring frequently until each addition is absorbed before adding the next.
  4. Roast Artichokes and Snap Peas:
    • While the rice is cooking, roast the poached artichokes and snap peas in a separate pan with a bit of vegetable stock.
  5. Finish the Risotto:
    • Season the risotto with salt and black pepper. Stir in the mascarpone and butter to add creaminess.
    • When the rice is al dente, remove from heat. Stir in the nettle puree and grated Parmesan cheese. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper if needed.
  6. Plate the Dish:
    • Plate the risotto in the center of each dish. Top with roasted artichokes and snap peas.
    • Garnish with microplaned lemon zest, pea shoots, and clover sorrel.

Notes

  • Nettle Handling: Use gloves when handling fresh nettles to avoid getting stung.
  • Nettle Alternative: If you cannot find nettles, you can substitute with spinach or kale. The flavor will be slightly different, but they will provide a similar texture and color.
  • Stock Addition: Adding the stock in batches allows the rice to release its starch gradually, resulting in a creamier risotto.
  • Consistency: The final risotto should be creamy but not runny. Adjust with more stock or water if necessary.
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Boiling, Roasting
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 3/4 Cups
  • Calories: 400
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Sodium: 540mg
  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 15g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 50g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 15mg
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