My husband and I love to go to the farmer’s market on the weekend. We often look for ingredients we haven’t seen before so that we can experiment with something new. Last year around this time, we found a farmer who was selling something really weird and interesting. After talking with the farmer and learning more about the product, we found out later they were garlic scapes. This year, we decided to grow hardneck garlic in our vegetable garden and I was able to harvest the scapes last week. After visiting the farmer’s market this weekend, we were able to find some items to pair with our scapes and have an absolutely fabulous recipe to share with you.
First, lets answer the question of what are garlic scapes. They are the flowers of a hardneck garlic, however, the flowers never actually appear. The scapes are harvested to promote more energy into bulb production instead of flowering. As you can see in the picture below, the scape is the curled stem emerging between the leaves. It is edible and has a mild garlic flavor. A garlic flavor that complements risotto just perfectly.
Let’s get to cooking! We are making Wild Mushroom & Garlic Scape Creamy Risotto.
Here are the ingredients that you need for this recipe:
- 1 Walla Walla onion, finely diced
- 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine, Chateau Ste. Michele Dry Riesling worked nicely
- 5 ounces crimini mushrooms
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms
- 4 ounces oyster mushrooms
- 5 to 6 garlic scapes, removing top 2 inches of flower which can be woody
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus some for topping
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring your chicken stock to a boil. Once boiling keep the temperature maintained so that it will remain hot. While your stock is coming to a boil, prepare your mushrooms. You will want to clean them gently with a wet paper towel and do not submerge them in water. Keep the stems and set them aside. Once the mushrooms are cleaned, slice so they are about 1/4″ thick.
With the stems that you set aside, rinse them with a strainer. Making sure to remove all the dirt and then add them to your stock. The stems will steep in the stock and give it a mushroom flavor.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, slowly cook your finely diced onion in olive oil until they are translucent and tender. Add your garlic until it is fragrant and cook for roughly 1 minute. Season your onions and garlic with salt and pepper. Next you will add your Arborio rice and toast it for about 1 to 2 minutes.
Now deglaze your sauté pan with dry white wine. Make sure it is one that you love to drink because the favor will become concentrated in the recipe. Plus it makes a great complement to serve the risotto with white wine. Let the wine reduce to about half.
After the wine has reduced, ladle in chicken stock – only one ladle at a time. Continue stirring until the stock has evaporated and repeat this process. Stirring as much as possible.
Now we are going to cook our mushrooms. In a separate sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat.
Add your sliced mushrooms to the pan and cook until golden brown. It is best to not stir them very frequently and do not add salt until after they are cooked all the way. Once your mushrooms are golden brown, season with salt and add your garlic scapes.
Let the mushrooms and scapes marry in flavor for about 3 minutes. Add butter and let melt over medium heat. Taste the mushroom mixture and season with salt and pepper to your preferred taste.
Back to our Arborio rice, you will know when the rice is cooked because it will release its starches and start to look creamy. It is important to taste all the components of the dish. Once the rice is al dente, go ahead and remove from heat. With your mushroom mixture, add cream and stir to incorporate. Now add your mushroom mixture to your Arborio rice. Next add your parmesan cheese. Taste to see that the seasonings are too your liking and if not add more salt and pepper.
Serve as a small appetizer for dinner parties or a large weekend meal. Top your plated risotto with a bit more parmesan cheese, pour a glass of that dry white wine and enjoy!