Collard green “risotto”*

We harvested the first of the collard greens today.  The leaves are big and hardy, and they need to cook for quite a while.   If you use more tender greens in this recipe — chard or kale, maybe — just don’t cook them as long.

Traditionally, risotto is supposed to be stirred almost constantly, but I’ve found that you get perfectly acceptable results if you just cook it like rice. Don’t tell Marcella Hazan.

Collard Green Risotto
(serves two)

2 t. vegetable oil
2 small onions, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 small bunch collard greens, chopped (about 4-6 c.)
2/3 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 – 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a skillet big enough to hold all the ingredients, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook until they are wilted and begin to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more.

2. Add the collard greens and continue to cook until they start to wilt and break down, about 5 minutes.

3. Add a cup or two of water to the pan – enough to just barely cover the ingredients – and bring to a boil. Cover, simmer, and cook until the collards are tender. This could be anywhere from 10 to as many as 30 minutes. Check the liquid periodically, and if the mixture is drying out, add a little more water.

4. Add the Arborio rice, wine, and stock, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. As before, check the liquid periodically and add water or stock if necessary.

5. When the rice is done, if it’s still soupy, uncover the pan and cook until enough liquid evaporates to give it a risotto consistency. Finish with cheese, salt, and pepper.