Spring and Autumn are my favorite seasons, not just for the milder weather, but for the abundance of delicious ingredients that are best during these seasons. Spring onions are among my favorites this time of year because they are tender, juicy and sweet. Unlike most onions you buy at the store, which are covered in papery layers of golden skin, spring onions have not been cured, leaving them a pristine white color (often with the greens still attached) with little to no skin. Because they haven’t been cured, they don’t have a very long shelf-life, which is why they usually only show up at farmers markets for a few weeks in spring.
These uncured onions not only contain a lot more moisture, they also tend to be sweeter and less spicy, making them great for salads and minimally cooked preparations. For this risotto I saute about half of the onions from the beginning, but the bulk of the onions go in towards the end, which retains their crisp texture and sweet taste. It’s finished off at the end with another one of my spring favorites: fava beans!
Because it’s made with a vegetable stock, this risotto is pretty light, but the cheese added in at the end adds just enough richness and umami to make it interesting.
Spring Onion Risotto
- 10.6 ounces (300 grams) whole fava beans
- 8.5 ounces (240 grams) uncured spring onion (1 large onion)
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cups short-grain rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 ounce (30 grams) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- olive oil, to serve
- black pepper, to taste
- Bring pot of well salted water to a boil. Shell the fava beans and then boil the beans for about 1 minute, drain and chill with cold water. Peel the skin off the beans and set them aside.
- Finely mince about 1/2 of the onion and then dice the remaining onion into 1/4-inch squares.
- Add the vegetable stock to a pot and bring to a boil before turning down the heat and keeping warm.
- Melt the butter in a large pot and then fry the minced onions until fragrant, but not browned.
- Add the rice and and continue to saute until the rice has absorbed all the oil.
- Add the white wine and stir until all the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the vegetable stock 1 ladle at a time to the rice, stirring constantly with a spatula until the liquid is mostly absorbed before adding another ladleful of stock. Repeat until the rice almost cooked (about 15-18 minutes at sea level).
- Add the remaining spring onions and continue cooking adding a little stock at a time until the rice is your desired doneness (another 5 minutes). Finish the risotto by stirring in the peeled fava beans and grated cheese.
- Plate the risotto and finish with a bit of olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper.
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.