Radical Radish Risotto

This recipe for Radish Risotto on Epicurious immediately caught my attention because radishes are a substantial portion of the finished dish (one whole pound!), but they are ultimately used as a garnish on top. I don’t usually like the sharp spiciness of radishes, so the dual layer appealed to my inner picky eater. I could try one bite as suggested, then omit the topping if it befouled the underlying risotto.

On a scale of bunny hill to black diamond, arborio could be the moguls of the rice world. I’d eaten risotto before, but its preparation seemed to be exclusively the purvue of professionals. I think the tricky part is only adding enough liquid to get it to the “al dente” stage instead of boiling it into mush. Since most people are used to the “set it and forget it” convenience of a rice cooker, babying a pot along and intuiting an indeterminate measure of broth to add kind of blows their minds. But it’s just rice, people! You can do it!

That said, I did screw up. I didn’t give proper instructions to one of my trusty sous chefs, and all 6 cups of stock and water were added at once. Whoopsie daisy! Fortunately, averting disaster was as simple as scooping most of it back out. I suppose the finished product was slightly less flavorful because the broth was diluted (and quite a bit was left over at the al dente stage), but it wasn’t bland by any stretch.

Leslie expertly julienned radishes by hand.

We also substituted white wine vinegar since I think wine tastes awful. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I don’t drink at all. Even when assured that all the alcohol has boiled off, I still don’t like the flavor. Vinegar is only slightly less horrible, but I do agree the dry tang adds to the dish. We went 1:1 on the wine to vinegar, but when (not if) I make this again, I may use a combination of suggested substitutes like lemon or ginger ale to add other notes.

Despite the aforementioned modifications, we absolutely nailed this one. It looked exactly like the picture and got rave reviews all around. I ate all of mine with the radish topping, so count this recipe as a 50 Vegetable Challenge win!

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