WITH WILD HOP SHOOTS | The secret of my garden in Spring |


There are secret corners in my garden where wild seasonal herbs await promptly for me. ..."Bruscandoli" as they are know here in the Veneto Region al thought they are well know almost everywhere in the North of Italy.

They are the shoots of the hop, the plant for the beer making. That's right! They grow on dry, shady places, under the protection of the bramble. I put them in a sieve or in a little bunch and wrap them with some paper so that they won't wither.

My boots are a bit muddy but, afterall, going on "secret expeditions" like this one is like going hunting for something rare in unexplored lands.

The harvest has been generous and, on the way back, the afternoon light awakes the pleasure of the cooking.

What do you need: (Serves 4) • 350 g risotto rice (such as carnaroli) • 1 small bunch of bruscandoli • 2 cloves of red garlic • vegetable stock • extra-virgin olive oil • salt and pepper • 1 knob of butter • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Start by getting rid of the hard part of the shoots stalk, keeping only the tender leaves and all the heads. Wash and chop them. In a small pot heat the vegetable stock previously prepared. Heat the olive oil and sauté 2 cloves of red garlic, then add the Bruscandoli. Cook for 10 minutes, adding a little of stock.

Add the rice and leave it to toast for a few minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add some of the hot vegetable stock to the rice and keep adding it with care and patience until the rice is cooked. Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the butter and the Parmesan so to give the risotto a creamy texture.

A recipe by The Freaky Table, Zaira Zarotti http://zairazarotti.com Instagram @zairazar #food #stelleritalia