Make the most of the ultimate spring ingredient with this super luscious, super green wild garlic risotto that takes just 30 minutes. Add a crispy panko breadcrumb topping for a wonderfully fresh meal, great for any day of the week.
When an ingredient only makes an appearance for about 6 weeks every year, I can’t resist using it as much as possible. And wild garlic (or ramps) has to be my favourite seasonal ingredient. The leaves are light, fresh, gorgeously garlicky and just sing of summer being just around the corner.
Risotto is a classic pairing for wild garlic. It really lets the flavour shine – and the bright green colour is just so fun. The trick to preserve the flavour, and colour, of wild garlic is to keep it as fresh as possible. When you cook it too long, the flavour and colour will dull. That’s why we’re making a quick puree with blanched wild garlic first, then adding that in right at the end of the cooking time. This way, we’ll get all the lovely flavour and colour of this seasonal star.
Looking for more wild garlic inspiration? Try my recipes for wild garlic butter, wild garlic pesto, wild garlic mac and cheese and cheesy wild garlic hot cross buns (basically cheesy pull-apart wild garlic bread!)
Everything you need – apart from the wild garlic – you probably already have, or you can easily find at a regular grocery store.
- Wild garlic (ramps). This gorgeously garlicky green leaf is such a springtime favourite. You can forage for it in the wild if you’re lucky (just make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for – lily of the valley looks similar and that’s poisonous). It pops up at farmers’ markets in spring, and you can also find it at online retailers. In the UK, it’s available on Ocado, Able & Cole or Riverford. If you can’t find wild garlic, you could use spinach leaves, or cavolo nero (Tuscan kale), and add another clove of regular garlic.
- Arborio rice. You could also use carnaroli rice. You need these specific types of rice when making risotto – they’re super starchy and the starch is what we need to make the risotto thick and creamy.
- Stock. Use chicken or vegetable stock, whatever you have to hand.
- Panko breadcrumbs. These Japanese breadcrumbs are larger and lighter than regular breadcrumbs and give a better, crispy result. I love to toast them with garlic to make a lovely crunchy topping for this risotto, but you can skip this step if you like, or use regular breadcrumbs.
OPTIONAL ADDITIONS: I love to add just a splash of fish sauce at the end of cooking the risotto – I promise it’s not fishy at all – it just provides an extra layer of savoury depth. But it’s very much optional.
How to make it
Make the crispy panko topping by frying garlic and olive oil in a small pan, then add the panko and stir for a couple of minutes until golden (you can use the same pan you use to make the risotto to keep things easy). Then make the wild garlic puree – blanch your wild garlic leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes, then add to a blender with 2 garlic cloves and a little of the cooking water. Blitz into a super smooth puree, which will take a few minutes. Add a little more water if it’s having trouble getting moving.
Cook onion in a little butter until it softens, then add garlic and the rice and stir to coat the rice in the butter. Pour in your wine and let it bubble up, then you can start adding your stock. Add it a ladleful at a time, stirring until it’s all absorbed before adding more.
PRO TIP: I find risotto cooks quicker if you use a large, high-sided frying pan or skillet, I’m using a 12″ cast iron skillet here.
Once you’ve added all your stock, your rice should be ‘al dente’ – cooked, but still have a little bite to it. At this point, you can pour in your wild garlic puree, 1 tablespoon of butter, and the fish sauce if you’re using it, and stir it through the rice. It’ll be SUPER creamy and glorious at this point. Finish by scattering over the grated parmesan, stir it through and then you’re ready to serve.
Risotto is best served right away, to prevent the rice from overcooking and going mushy. There is a quick trick for preparing risotto ahead of time, which I break down in the FAQs below.
How to make this in an Instant Pot
Sometimes, you don’t want to stand over a pot and stir – I get it! Luckily, if you have an Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker), it’s SUPER easy to make this risotto in it.
- Follow the recipe up until you start adding the stock. Just use the ‘sauté’ mode on your Instant Pot. No liquid evaporates during cooking in an Instant Pot, so you’ll need to cut down the amount of stock you use to 1 ¾ cups, rather than 3 cups.
- Instead of adding one ladleful of stock at a time, add all 1 ¾ cups, then seal the lid of your Instant Pot and set it to cook on high pressure for 6 minutes.
- Use the rapid release – being careful of the steam – and remove the lid. It’ll look liquidy when you do this but don’t freak out. Mix in the wild garlic puree, butter and parmesan and it will thicken up into a beautifully creamy risotto. If you still think it’s too liquidy at this point, you can cook it, stirring, for a couple of minutes on sauté mode to let some liquid evaporate.
Got a question?
When I was at Le Cordon Bleu, one of the best tips I picked up was how to pre-make risotto (which is actually the way they do it at restaurants). The tricky thing with risotto is that the longer the cooked rice sits in the liquid, the softer it becomes and it won’t be as ‘al dente’ as it should be. So all you have to do is cook it halfway – add half the stock, and then spread it out onto a shallow tray (so that it can cool quickly – this way the rice won’t overcook). Then you can pop it into the fridge, covered with clingfilm, until you’re ready to serve. When you’re ready, just add it back into the pot and continue to add the rest of the stock, and continue with the recipe.
This is the PERFECT opportunity to make crispy risotto balls (arancini). These Sicilian fried rice balls are so delicious – I love stuffing gooey mozzarella into the middle.
3:1 – so 3 cups of stock for every 1 cup of rice. Follow this ratio to scale this recipe up or down.
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If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print