I LOVE frequenting the farmers market, and recently I spied the most fragrant, juicy nectarines, as well as a huge assortment of peppers — a rainbow of color, all sizes, shapes, hot and sweet. You may not think of putting these together, but I went out on a limb and conjured up this risotto. It was a huge hit!
Want to learn the best tricks and tips for successful risotto? Check out our video here.
Pepper & Nectarine Risotto
- **2 large nectarines seeded and diced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 ⁄4 cup finely chopped onion or shallot
- ½ cup assorted peppers diced
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup Arborio rice *
- 1 ⁄2 cup dry white wine
- freshly grated zest of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- hot sauce to taste
- ½ teaspoon sugar if necessary, to adjust sweetness
- 1 ⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
In wide pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add nectarines and cook, turning after about two minutes, until a bit of brown begins to appear. Remove the nectarines from the pan and set aside, dividing three quarters to go back into the risotto and one-quarter to use as garnish.
Add another tablespoon of the butter to the pan, then add the shallot and peppers; sprinkle with a bit of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have begun to soften but not brown, about 3 minutes. Remove one-quarter of this mixture and set aside for garnish.
Meanwhile, in small saucepan, heat chicken stock just to simmer. Cover the stock and keep hot
When the vegetables are soft, while stirring, add rice, pouring it in “like rain,” so that each grain is separate. Continue sautéing and stirring about 4 minutes more. Rice will become slightly more opaque.
Add wine, lemon zest and juice, stirring. As you stir, drag the spoon across the bottom of the pan; when you can see the dry pan at the bottom as you drag the spoon across, add about 1⁄4 cup of the hot chicken stock. It is important not to let the rice dry out at this point. Continue cooking and stirring. Each time you see the dry pan add about 1⁄4 cup of stock. Continue adding stock as before, until all of the stock has been added. This will take about 20 minutes. Taste for doneness. The risotto should be slightly chewy in the center, or “al dente” as the Italians call it. Stir in the three-quarters of the reserved nectarines and Parmesan cheese. Correct the seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately if at all possible. If you must prepare this dish a few minutes in advance, keep warm, and stir in about 3 tablespoons of stock to restore the consistency before serving. Garnish with the reserved nectarines and peppers.
Makes 4 side dish servings.