Risotto with Vegetables

A highlight for our guests each week is dinner at La Botte Piena in Montefollonico (now Osmosi in Montepulciano) where the food is as creative and inspired as the talented chefs who prepare each course. We have so much faith in their staff that we tell guests to take a seat at the table with open minds and a hunger for something unexpected. We never have any idea what they will serve. It is the only dinner during the entire week that is totally spontaneous. La Botte Piena never disappoints. Every detail, from their ultra-modern tableware to their expert wine pairings, wows. Owners Elena and Simone succeed in incorporating their own modern spin on traditional Italian fare.
Take their risotto, a colorful vegan option topped with vegetables plucked from their garden, dehydrated, and blended into vivid powders that top the risotto like a Rorschach test. (We’ve added a variation using fresh vegetables.)
Course: Rice
Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the vegetable powder:

  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
  • cups finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup capers
  • 1 cup minced green olives
  • 1 cup chopped spinach

For the risotto:

  • 1 white onion
  • cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 3 cups white wine
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • cups grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • olive oil

Instructions

  • To make the vegetable powder, spread out the carrots evenly on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high until the carrots are dehydrated, for 6 minutes. Do the same with the tomatoes, capers, olives, and spinach, cooking each one separately in a single layer in the microwave for 6 minutes. Blend them separately in a mini food processor and set them aside.
    Melt one-half of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion in half the butter until translucent for 3-5 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 7–8 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Deglaze the pan with the wine.
    Heat the stock until simmering. Add one small ladleful of simmering stock to the rice. Stir until absorbed. (This should take about 3 minutes per ladleful.) Continue adding remaining vegetable stock one ladle at a time, stirring and allowing the rice to absorb the stock before you add the next one. Cooking the rice should take about 25–27 minutes in total.
    When all the stock has been absorbed, taste the rice and make sure it is al dente. When the rice is done, stir in the remaining butter and the cheese.
    Plate the risotto and add the vegetable powders on top of the in separate patches. Garnish with olive oil.
    Variation: Risotto with Vegetable Garnish
    Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the carrots until tender without browning, for 5-6 minutes. Set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and sauté the spinach until wilted and the moisture has evaporated, for 3–4 minutes. Set aside.
    Prepare the risotto and garnish the finished risotto with the cooked carrots, spinach, the chopped tomatoes, capers and olives.