Make Comfort Food Like a Holistic Nutritionist
Nutrition

Make Comfort Food Like a Holistic Nutritionist

The cook behind My New Roots shares the healthiest risotto recipe we've ever tasted. (Hint: it doesn't involve any rice.)

If there’s anyone who knows how to make a plant-based, largely vegan and gluten-free diet a more delicious and actually exciting undertaking than order-in Thai, it’s Sarah Britton of My New Roots. Leading up to the release of her first cookbook on March 31 (aptly titled My New Roots), we asked the holistic nutritionist and cook to share some of her all-time favorite recipes right here. Check back weekly for plenty of healthy inspiration.






Miraculous Rice-less Risotto with Ramps and Asparagus



Serves 2






“This was a cool recipe. This actually [came out of] a chef collaboration I did in Amsterdam [with Schilo van Coevorden] two springs ago. It was his idea to do a risotto based on white asparagus. This is a really good example of how I work with chefs: they come up with a cool technique and then we’ll adjust the ingredients to be more health conscious.

I really like this one. It’s incredibly creamy, really simple to make, very few ingredients. It’s just fresh, and such a celebration of spring with the wild leek pesto. It’s delicious. If you want to make it with rice, you can totally do that. If you can’t find white asparagus, which also tends to be a little expensive, go with a grain; it’s really good with quinoa, with barley—it’s pretty customizable.”

INGREDIENTS:


4-6 large white asparagus spears, approx. 370g
2 shallots, minced
1 Tbsp. ghee or olive oil
a couple pinches salt
For garnish: Pecorino Romano, lemon zest, white pepper, cold-pressed olive oil

SAUCE:
1 bunch green asparagus, approx. 300g
1 bunch wild leeks (ramps)
1 ½ Tbsp. cold pressed olive oil
½ Tbsp. lemon juice
1-3 Tbsp. cooking liquid
salt to taste
a small squirt of honey
Pecorino Romano to taste (lots!)

DIRECTIONS:


1. Begin by preparing the sauce. Snap off and discard the woody ends of the green asparagus, wash them well and chop them into similar size pieces. Rinse the ramps well, removing any soil.

2. Bring a pot of water the boil, add the asparagus and simmer for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and add the ramps, submerging them in the water for 1 more minute, just to take the raw edge off. Do not overcook! Immediately drain the asparagus and ramps reserving the cooking liquid in a separate bowl. Rinse the vegetables under very cold water, or submerge them in an ice bath to halt the cooking process. Reserve 2-3 pieces asparagus for garnish.

3. Add the cooked asparagus, ramps and remaining sauce ingredients (except for the salt and cheese) to a blender and process on high until smooth. Add cheese and salt, taste for seasoning. If necessary, add more cooking liquid to achieve a thinner sauce.

4. Prepare the asparagus “rice”. Peel the white asparagus from the base all the way to the tip. Using a mandoline, a julienne peeler/slicer, or your excellent knife skills, create long, thin vertical strips. Line them up, then cut them across to create very small “grains”, each about the size of a grain of rice. Set aside. Mince shallots.

5. In a frying pan heat a little ghee or olive oil (if using olive oil make sure to cook over low heat!), add the shallots and a pinch or two of sea salt. Cook until the shallots have nicely caramelized, about 7-10 minutes. Add the white asparagus rice and stir to combine with the shallots. Cook for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add the green sauce and fold into the rice, warming it. Continue to add the asparagus/ramps cooking liquid that you reserved, or just water, to thin out the consistency. The texture should be like regular risotto: loose and creamy, not sticky and dry nor too wet and soupy. Make sure it is hot all the way through. Season to taste, add more cheese if desired (sooooo gooooooood).

6. Plate the risotto and sprinkle with lemon zest, white pepper, more cheese if desired, and olive oil. Add a couple pieces of asparagus to the top and serve immediately.
Read more about this recipe on My New Roots. Photography courtesy Sarah Britton.
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