Spring garlic with slow cooked beef

This recipe could be called risotto 101 as it is my go-to risotto recipe that I have used for years. I first learnt how to make risotto from Leith’s Cooking School in London. It quickly became my number one, entertaining dish, comfort food, bare cupboard dish that you can literally make with only a few ingredients. The result is always reliably delicious. This recipe I made to use some beautiful fresh seasonal spring garlic that was gifted to me. The garlicky flavour and creaminess of the risotto go perfectly with slow-cooked beef, poached chicken or fish.

  • 1 cup of Arborio rice
  • 1 medium brown onion finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 6-8 stems of spring/green garlic finely sliced
  • ½ cup white wine (sauvignon blanc or chardonnay)
  • 1.5 litres of good vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ⅓ cup of mascarpone 
  • ⅓ cup of gran pandana/ parmesan cheese 
  • ½ teaspoon salt freshly ground black pepper

Finely slice the green garlic only discarding the root end and any browned leaves at the top.  The fabulous thing about green garlic is that you can quite literally use the whole garlic stem. I compost the root and any brown leaves but use the rest.  The darkest green end bits can be used in the stock or reserved and lightly pan friend to use as garnish. All the white and middle pieces can be used within the risotto and are full of garlicky goodness.

  1. In a separate saucepan warm the stock at medium heat with the bay leaves. 
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan heat the olive oil then add the onions and salt. Saute until the onions are translucent and just started to brown then add the white and middle slices of green garlic and minced garlic. 
  3. Add the rice and stir constantly until it starts to crackle.  Add the wine continuing to stir, then one cup at a time of warm stock and continue to stir until the rice begins to thicken and all the stock is used. This process will take around 25-30 minutes and is a labour of love, but definitely worth the effort. 
  4. To know when your risotto is ready, take a small grain of rice and cut it through the middle. If there is a tiny little white dot then it is al dente and the risotto is ready. Remove from heat and stir through the mascarpone and parmesan, season to taste.
  5. If you are feeling very gourmet and want to pan fry the garlic tips, heat a small pan with olive oil at medium-high heat and add the garlic stems stirring constantly so that they don’t burn, add a pinch of salt then remove them from the heat.  Garnish your risotto.