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Risotto with Squash Blossoms

Squash blossoms lend their delicate flavor to this creamy risotto. Look for squash blossoms at your local farmers’ market during the spring and early summer. They are quite perishable, so use them as soon as possible after purchase.

Ingredients:

  • 24 squash blossoms
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbs. crème fraîche
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Directions:

Remove the stamen from the squash blossoms and roughly cut the blossoms. Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the stock to a simmer; reduce the heat to very low and keep warm.

In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter. Add the onion, celery and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent.

Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook, stirring, until the rice is translucent, about 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and deglaze, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. When the wine is absorbed, begin adding the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. Continue until the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes, then add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and the crème fraîche. While stirring constantly, add the cheese and squash blossoms, and season with salt and pepper. If the risotto has become too thick, add a bit more stock to make it smooth and creamy.

Divide the risotto among 6 warmed plates. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with a grind of pepper and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from a recipe by Chef Chris Cosentino, Incanto, San Francisco.