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Wild Garlic Risotto

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Simple wild garlic risotto with Parmesan. A flavorful dish made with just a few ingredients and ready in about 30 minutes. The perfect dish to celebrate spring.

Another wild garlic recipe to help you make the most of the short season. This time a creamy wild garlic risotto, a wonderful twist on simple risotto. And if you still have some ramsons, try this pull-apart bread or this chimichurri-style pungent sauce, it’s perfect for drizzling over meats or eggs. Or this addictive wild garlic butter.

close up ramsons risotto on a plate.

Where to find wild garlic?

Allium ursinum also known as ramsons, bear’s garlic, bear leek, or buckrams is native to Europe and Asia, but it grows throughout North America, in the Eastern half of the United States, and on the West coast. It has a short season from April to June, depending on your area. You can pick it in shady woods, hedgerows, marshlands, and fields.

If you cannot pick it yourself, you can buy it at the farmer’s market or even in larger supermarkets at this time of the year. However, foraging yourself is worth it! Buying small bunches of the plant can get expensive, especially if you plan to preserve it as paste or wild garlic pesto.

And foraging is fun! I love it! It has become a ritual; my kids and I have been doing it for 6-7 years now. Every April, we pick up our friend who introduced us to ramsons and go picking in a quite inaccessible wood nearby. After a bit of serious climbing, we get to a spot where the plant covers the ground like a carpet. Hundreds of meters in every direction. It’s wonderful!

So, every spring I make not only pesto or paste, but I cook a lot of wild garlic recipes as well. Have a look at these Green Crepes, Soup, or Hummus, you will love all these recipes.

To learn more about picking and cleaning wild garlic, read What to Do with Wild Garlic.

As always when foraging, be 100% sure that you are picking the right plant and what you pick is safe to eat.

collage of two pictures of risotto with ramsons.

What do you need for risotto?

  • Rice: risotto rice like Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano. I use Arborio most of the time because that’s the most common sort sold around here.
  • Wild garlic: a bunch of about 30-40 g/ 1-1.4 oz.
  • Parmesan: I always insist on buying a wedge of good hard cheese and grating it yourself. The already grated stuff is just not good.
  • Stock: you can use either chicken or vegetable stock. I use homemade most of the time because I almost always have it in the fridge or freezer. If using a bought kind, make sure it is of good quality and low sodium. Using a stock with a lot of salt will make the dish salty as the liquid will keep reducing.
  • Other ingredients: a shallot or ½ small onion, butter, dry white wine, salt, and pepper.
listed ingredients for making risotto.

How to make risotto with ramsons?

  • Pour the stock into a jug pan and heat it on the stove. Turn the heat down to a minimum and keep the stock on the stove during the entire cooking process.
  • Chop the shallot very finely.
  • Heat ½ of the butter in a heavy-bottomed or non-stick pan. I use a flat, large Dutch oven most of the time.
  • Gently cook the onion until translucent, about 2-3 minutes, stirring often. (1)
  • Add the rice and stir well to coat with the butter all over. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often until the rice is slightly translucent as well. (2)
  • Pour in the white wine and let it bubble until evaporated, it will not take long. (3)
  • Start adding the simmering stock, about a ladleful at a time. Only add the next ladle of stock when the previous one has been almost entirely absorbed by the rice. (4)
collage of four pictures of making risotto in a white large pan.
  • While the risotto cooks, prepare the herbs. Wash them very thoroughly under hot running water, I wash every single one individually. Dry them well with a clean kitchen cloth.
  • Form a bunch and slice all the leaves at once into ribbons. Or chop it any other way, but I find the longer ribbons very suitable. (1)
  • Grate the Parmesan and set aside.
  • Continue adding the stock and stirring often until the rice is cooked through, it will take about 25-30 minutes. The rice should be tender but still firm to the bite, it should not turn mushy. (2)
  • Once the rice is tender, add the cheese and the remaining butter. Stir well to melt. (3)
  • Add the chopped herbs and stir well again for about 1 minute, until the leaves are slightly wilted. (4)
  • Adjust the taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • You can drizzle it with a little wild garlic oil if you have it.
collage of four pictures of adding parmesan and herbs to rice.

Can I make the dish vegetarian?

Yes. Use vegetable stock and a vegetarian hard cheese instead of Parmesan.

What if I don’t have wild garlic?

Replace with the same amount of mixed fresh herbs to get a delicious herb risotto. Try parsley, chives, dill, rocket, tarragon, basil. Don’t forget to add grated garlic (to taste, but at least 2 cloves) during the last 5 minutes of the cooking time.

risotto with wild garlic overhead view on a plate.

Tips

  • Don’t wash the rice, you will wash away most of the starches and the risotto will not be creamy anymore.
  • Wash the ramsons leaves individually and very thoroughly, especially if you’ve picked them yourself in the woods. There is always the possibility of the leaves being contaminated with the cysts of the fox tapeworm, which can cause life-threatening diseases, which often appear many years after consuming the contaminated plant.
  • Stand by while making the risotto and stir very often. I must admit I never stir it continuously as always recommended (I don’t have the patience for it), however, any risotto I’ve ever made was perfectly creamy and delicious.
  • Make sure you use homemade or low sodium stock otherwise the dish will be too salty. It is better to adjust the taste with more salt at the end than to have an overly salted dish.
  • Don’t skip the small amount of butter stirred into the rice at the end, it really makes a difference in taste and texture. The rice will be richer and creamier.
rice with wild garlic served on a small plate.

How to serve?

Any risotto is best served immediately. However, leftovers keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a small pot on the stove. When reheating on the stove, add a splash of stock and stir often.

You can serve the wild garlic risotto as a main dish or as a side. This amount (250 g/ 8.8 oz rice) will serve 2 or 3 as a main dish with a green salad or buttered peas. Or 4 as a side dish for meats, for instance. Try it with cast-iron chicken breast or thighs, tagliata or other steaks, with pan-fried fish, or grilled/steamed salmon.

To make it a vegetarian meal, serve with sauteed or roasted green asparagus or boiled white asparagus. Runny, poached eggs on top are a delight as well.

small serving of herbed rice with parmesan.

More risotto recipes

close up ramsons risotto on a plate.

Wild Garlic Risotto

Yield: 2-4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Simple wild garlic risotto with Parmesan. A flavorful dish made with just a few ingredients and ready in about 30 minutes. The perfect dish to celebrate spring.

Ingredients

  • about 900 ml/ 30.5 fl. oz/ scant 4 cups low sodium stock (Note 1 and 2)
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 shallot or ½ small onion
  • 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 1 ¼ cup risotto rice (Note 3)
  • 100 ml/ 3.4 fl. oz/ scant ½ cup dry white wine
  • one bunch wild garlic, about 30-40 g/ 1-1.4 oz
  • 50 g/ 1.8 oz/ ½ cup Parmesan (or vegetarian hard cheese)

Instructions

  1. Pour the stock into a jug pan and heat it on the stove. Turn the heat down to a minimum and keep the stock on the stove during the entire cooking process.
  2. Finely chop the shallot or onion. Heat 1 teaspoon butter in a heavy-bottomed or non-stick pan. Cook the onion until translucent, about 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add risotto rice, stir well and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often, until the rice is slightly translucent.
  4. Pour in the white wine and let it bubble until evaporated, it will not take long.
  5. Start adding the simmering stock, about one ladleful at a time. Only add the next ladle of stock when the previous one has been almost entirely absorbed by the rice. Continue adding the stock and stirring often until the rice is cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. The rice should be tender but still firm to the bite.
  6. While the risotto cooks, thoroughly wash the wild garlic leaves under hot running water. Dry them well. Slice into ribbons or chop.
  7. Grate the Parmesan and set aside.
  8. Once the rice is tender, add the cheese and the remaining teaspoon of butter. Stir well to melt. Add the wild garlic and stir well again for about 1 minute, until the leaves are slightly wilted.
  9. Adjust the taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve sprinkled with more Parmesan if desired.

Notes

  1. Vegetable or chicken stock, either homemade or bought. If using bought stock, make sure is good quality and low sodium. Otherwise, the risotto might be too salty.
  2. You will need more or less the amount mentioned above, but it will depend on the rice, add as much as needed.
  3. Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano, etc.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 of the dish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 262Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 555mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 11g

Nutritional information is not always accurate.

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