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CHEF'S CORNER

 
Steel Cut Oat "Risotto" Primavera
By Aham Amachi

 

 

So spring is full upon us and with that comes an abundance of vegetables. From sandwiches, to salads and even a vegetable terrine, the versatility is nearly limitless. For me, I enjoy a risotto with a medley of lightly sautéed vegetables folded in to the risotto. Now this risotto will have a little bit of a twist to it. For this recipe I have substituted steel cut oats for the arborio rice. It seems a little odd, but it works because like arborio rice the steel cut oats have a creamy consistency and has a chewy texture with a slightly nutty finish. If you like risotto I think you’ll enjoy this take on this classic dish.
 


 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 qt chicken stock (you can substitute vegetable stock)
  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 3 Tbsp minced yellow onion
  • 10 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 bunch asparagus
    • Cut the tips 1/4"pc and small dice the remaining stalk
    • Reserve 6 stalks and cut 2" pieces for garnish
  • 1 small orange bell pepper small diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper small diced
  • 1 yellow squash small dice outer skin only
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbsp blended vegetable oil
  • 6oz ladle
Herb oil - for garnish (optional):
  • 1/2 bunch basil
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
 


 

Instruction:
 
Herb oil:

  1. Bring medium stock pot of water on the stove and bring to a simmer.
  2. Make an ice bath in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Once the water comes to a simmer add 6 tbsp of salt to the water.
  4. Using a slotted spoon dip the flat leaf parsley into the salted water and quickly pull out and dunk it into the ice bath to stop the cooking.
  5. Repeat step 4 with the basil.
  6. Remove the basil and parsley from the ice bath and squeeze dry. (You can use a salad spinner to dry the herbs as well.)
  7. Place the herbs in the bowl of a food processor with the blade.
  8. Turn on the processor and slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil.
  9. Once the herbs and oil are thoroughly blended taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  10. Refrigerate the herb oil until you are ready to use.
 
Risotto:
  1. In a medium sauce pan bring the 2 quarts of chicken stock to a low simmer.
  2. Place two 12" sauté pans on the stove top over medium heat and add 2 Tbsp blended vegetable oil to each pan. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the minced onion and minced garlic to one pan and the diced asparagus, diced yellow squash and diced bell peppers to the other sauté pan. Add approximately 1/2 tsp salt to both pans and let sweat.
  3. Once the onions and garlic become translucent, add the steel cut oats to the pan and gently toast them.
  4. Let the asparagus mixture sweat until they start to become tender, approximately 2-3 minutes. Once they are tender remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  5. When the oats have been completely coated by the onion, garlic & oil mixture and slightly toasted, reduce the heat to medium low and add 2 1/2 ladles of the simmering stock to the oat mixture. Continually stir the oat mixture as the stock is being absorbed to prevent the oats from sticking to the pan.
  6. When approximately 90% of the stock has been absorbed (when you pull your spoon through the oat mixture there will be a small amount of liquid that pools back) add another 2 ladles of stock and continue to stir.
  7. Continue to add stock to the oat "risotto" and let absorb into the oats. You will notice that the mixture is beginning to slightly thicken with a creamy appearance (approximately 10-12 minutes). Take a taste to gauge the texture. It should have a nice chew without any crunch.
  8. If the oats have reached your desired chew add the asparagus vegetable mixture and fold it into the oats.
  9. Fold in parmesan cheese. Check seasoning and adjust if needed.
    If the "risotto" seems dry add a 1/2 ladle of stock.
 
Asparagus Garnish:
  1. Bring medium stock pot of water on the stove and bring to a simmer.
  2. Make an ice bath in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Once the water comes to a simmer add 1 tbsp of salt to the water.
  4. Blanch the reserved asparagus tips and place in ice bath to stop the cooking.
  5. Set aside the tips for garnish.
 
Plating:
  1. Scoop the "risotto" into a 1 cup measuring cup until it is level.
  2. Invert your plate on top of the measuring cup turn the plate so the plate is now on the bottom.
  3. Slowly lift the measuring cup from the plate.
  4. Using a teaspoon drizzle the herb oil around the "risotto."
    - Note if the oil has solidified from its time in the refrigerator place your microwave for 15 seconds to bring it back to a liquid state. You can also leave out at room temperature for 30 minutes to and 1 hour (depending on the temperature of the room) to bring it back to its liquid state.
  5. Garnish with asparagus tips.
  6. If you are setting up multiple plates repeat step 1-5.
  7. Enjoy!
 

Aham is a graduate of The Restaurant School in Philadelphia. He has worked as cook at Cuvee Notre Dame in Philadelphia and Sous Chef at the former 'Stazi Milano' in Jenkintown. Currently, he is the Manager of Operations for The Philadelphia Catering Company.
 
 
 
 

 
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