Count Paolo Marzotto and his family love this luscious risotto made with carletti, a wild herb with the uninviting Latin name Silene vulgaris, or bladder campion. The herb, which has a sweet, pea-like flavor, can be replaced by any number of baby greens, from baby spinach to baby turnip greens—or even fresh pea shoots.
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2 quarts plus 3 cups water
1 large onion, sliced
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped
1 large celery rib, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
6 packed cups baby greens, such as pea shoots, spinach or arugula (5 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups arborio rice
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, combine the water with the onion, carrots, leek, celery, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and cloves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate, cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Strain the stock into a medium saucepan, cover and keep warm.
In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add half of the minced shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the baby greens a handful at a time, stirring between batches until wilted. Season the baby greens with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the vegetable oil. Add the remaining shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook over moderately high heat, stirring to coat the grains, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it is nearly absorbed between additions. The risotto is done when the rice is al dente and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce, about 25 minutes total.
Stir the wilted greens and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into the risotto and season with salt and pepper. Serve at once, passing the cheese at the table.
The vegetable stock and the wilted greens can be refrigerated, separately, overnight.
This risotto is so creamy and luxurious that it needs a white with substance, like a fragrant Viognier. Count Marzotto was the first person to grow Viognier in Sicily; in France, its native country, the variety is primarily found in the Rhône Valley.
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