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Risotto rides to the rescue

February 24, 2013|By Russ Parsons
  • Risotto with bitter greens
Risotto with bitter greens (Russ Parsons / Los Angeles…)

My misadventures in the garden have been pretty well chronicled. But every once in a while, I do something right -- even if it's by accident. Take my tat soi, for example.

I probably should have harvested the last of it about two or three weeks ago, but between flu, work and a dozen other things, I never got around to it. And so that lettuce did what all lettuces will do when nobody pays attention -- it bolted.

When greens go to seed like that, their leaves turn tough and bitter -- not fit for a salad at all. But because I didn't feel like running to the store for Saturday night supper, I wondered whether there might be something else I could do with them.

Risotto. I made a light stock with some chicken broth, trimmings from onion and lettuce stems and an old rind from a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano. I wilted the bitter greens with onions and a bit of garlic and then ladle by ladle added the stock. When it was done, I beat in a knob of butter and a small handful of freshly grated Parmigiano.

It turned out to be pretty delicious -- the plush rice and rich cheese flavor balancing the bitterness of the bolted greens.

Still, this morning I got busy in the garden and pulled the rest of it out. I don't think I can get that lucky twice.


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