Yesterday morning I woke up very early to take a walk in the fields behind my house. While walking along the bank of the river that runs through the countryside, I found the first hop shoots. Although I had to go to work, I lingered for a little while and collected these tasty herbs to make a risotto. My family uses “urtisons”, as they are called in local dialect, and this tradition of collecting them happens every spring.
We mainly are familiar with hops because they are an ingredient used to make beer (the bitterness balances the sweet malt and its juice has antibacterial properties suitable for encouraging conservation). Few people know that these shoots grow plants that are known to climb 7-8 yards providing unusual pom-pom like buds.
The risotto that I have created mixes in beet greens to make things a bit sweeter. If you like the taste and aroma of hop shoots you can use them alone.
SPRING RISOTTO WITH WILD HOP SHOOTS
Preparation: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 bunch of wild hop shoots
1 bunch beet greens
½ pound of Carnaroli rice
1 white onion
2 teaspoons vegetable broth granules for the stock
4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
½ cup white wine
6 cups of boiling water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Wash the two greens thoroughly and cut into small pieces. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- In a saucepan, add the chopped greens, add a little salt and cook them on high heat for 5 minutes. Pour in the rice and after 1 minute, add the white wine. Allow it to evaporate, stirring often.
- Add the bouillon granules and the boiling water, stir, then add more water only when the former is well absorbed. After 20 minutes the rice will be cooked.
Turn off the heat, add the olive oil and parmesan. Stir and let stir 1 minute.