With Spring coming early this year, the farmers’ markets are already selling the local erbe spontanee (spontaneous herbs a.k.a. wild edibles) like bladder campion silene vulgaris, wild asparagus, dandelion and aglio orsino = wild garlic (the Italian name means “Bear Garlic” because, apparently, bears waking from their hibernation tend to eat it in huge quantities).
I first ate wild garlic at my favorite Slovenian restaurant, RUJ. Delicate, flavorful and delicious, it was served as a pesto. At this time of year, it is common to find dishes featuring wild garlic at almost every restaurant.
Wild garlic grows in the underbrush, in damp places and often along waterways. Its leaves resemble those of lily of the valley, but are recognizable by their marked garlic scent. It is fun to forage for it yourself, but fresh bunches of it are reaily available as are ready to use jars of it in pesto form.
Our companion site, GoodMorningTrieste, offers a recipe adapted from the Celso Gilberti mountain lodge in Sella Nevea, a local ski hotspot.
RISOTTO AL AGLIO ORSINO
( for 4 people )
1 finely chopped onion
30gr of butter
360 gr of Carnaroli rice
half C of dry white wine
1 bunch of Orsino garlic
60gr of grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
A filet of smoked trout (optional)
Place the chopped onion in a deep sautee pan with butter and cook until transluscent.
Add the rice, stirring well and toast it for 2 or 3 minutes, then pour the white wine over it and let it evaporate.
Add the broth and mix well. Continue cooking the rice, adding broth when needed, for at least 15 minutes.
In the meantime, chop half of your wild garlic bunch and mix it with the Parmesan and half a glass of warm water and add salt and pepper.
When the rice is al dente, add the wild garlic and cheese mixture, a knob of butter, and mix everything on a high flame.
Remove the pot from the heat, cover and leave to rest for 2 minutes.
Before serving, add the remaining fresh garlic leaves as a garnish on top of the risotto.
At the Gilberti refuge they complete the dish by adding little chunks of smoked trout.