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Risotto with Fiddleheads & Morels

Risotto with Fiddleheads & Morels
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Total Time: 60

Risotto is a slow-cooked dish made with starchy, short- or medium-grain rice. It's a perfect example of what chef Lee Skawinski of Cinque Terre and Vignola restaurants in Portland, Maine, does so well--taking traditional foods and refining them with his own flourishes--in this case, the addition of bright and nutty spring fiddlehead ferns and earthy morels. This dish is beautiful and deeply satisfying. Be sure to use arborio, carnaroli, or other rice appropriate for risotto.

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  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup small fiddleheads, tightly curled, rinsed, blanched, cooled
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh morel mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot (1 small)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 3 ounces vermouth or crisp white wine (Lee prefers Orvieto from Umbria)
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs, stems discarded
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


In a medium-size sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and cook fiddleheads until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a medium-size sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Cook morels and shallot until shallot is translucent.

Add 1/3 cup vegetable stock and cook until most liquid has cooked down. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, saute red onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent.

Remove from heat, add remaining oil, and stir in rice. Continue stirring 45 seconds. Lower heat to medium, add wine, and cook just until liquid has evaporated.

Add 2/3 cup vegetable stock, stirring occasionally until most liquid is absorbed. Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well, until rice is al dente (tender but firm).

Fold in fiddleheads, remaining 1 tablespoon butter, thyme, and grated cheese. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide into six warm bowls. Spoon morel/shallot mixture and shaved cheese on top.

Updated Monday, September 27th, 2010

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