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Jun 17, 2009 12:56 PM

Risotto with Fava Beans and Morels

A poster on the Manhattan board asked that I post this. I came up w/ the idea over the weekend and made it Sunday night, using Hazan's basic recipe as a guide.

2 T butter
2 T grapeseed oil or other vegetable oil
2 T finely chopped shallots (that's what I used, but I thought it could use more of them)
2 cups Arborio Rice
Small handful of dried porcinis (I'm too lazy to go find the packet - I used half of it)
1.25 pounds fava beans
1/5 pound fresh morels
5 cups or so of chicken broth
As much grated parmesan as you want.
1-2 butter to add in at the end if you want to (I don't like it, so my husband adds it to his portion)

1. Remove the fava beans from the pods and cook in salted boiling water. Do not overcook - I've learned that when the beans float to the top, they are usually done. If I end up with both largish and smallish beans, I divide them into two categories, throw the large ones in first, then add the smallish ones about 45 seconds later. Put the cooked favas in cold water, drain and peel. I usually just use my thumb nail to perforate the "skin" and then squeeze out the bean. Set aside - this can be done ahead of time.

2. Cut the morels in half (or quarters if particularly large), clean if you think necessary (I usually don't), and sautee quickly in some butter, with salt and pepper. Set aside - this can be done ahead of time.

3. Soak the porcinis in about a cup of warm water for 30 minutes or so. Squeeze out the liquid, and chop up into pretty fine pieces. Retain the liquid. (Can be done ahead of time.)

4. Heat the broth, and strain the porcini liquid through a paper towel lined strainer into the broth. Keep warm.

5. Make risotto in the usual fashion.. After about ten minutes, add the diced porcini. When you think the risotto is a minute or two away from being done, reheat the morels, adding the favas to them first. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

6. When risotto is done, remove from heat and stir in parmesan, and butter if using it. Adjust seasoning. Reserve some morels and favas for garnish, and GENTLY stir in the rest.

7. Serve immediately and enjoy!

We (i.e. my husband) ate almost all of this, but for two you could adjust the recipe to one cup of arborio etc. And, of course, budget permitting, you could use more morels and/or favas.

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  1. Wow that sounds splendid. My DH loves risotto too. I will most certainly be making this -- gotta find those fresh fava beans! Thanks again for posting.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LNG212

      You are welcome - I thought the dried porcinis/liquid would add a little "mushroom depth" to the dish, which they did.

    2. On the Manhattan board, someone asked me the following, so I'll answer here:

      "I just did a risotto with slivered snap peas and roasted maitakes with nano vialone.
      Which rice do your prefer for risottos?
      Have you ever swapped in caciocavallo or locatelli for parmigiano?
      What's your base/stock?"

      I usually use arborio - while I have used others, I haven't compared results closely enough to develop a preference. I haven't used cheeses other than parmigiano and pecorino Romano - just forgot to add a little of the latter, and it does add a nice edge to the risotto. I try to use home made chicken broth, but, in a pinch, I'll use chicken Better than Bouillon, though I make sure that it's not too strong. I know that beef broth is traditional in many risottos, but I'm not such a fan of canned/boxed etc. ones, so I stick with chicken.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MMRuth

        I find vialone nano consistently produces satisfying results as does carnaroli; I've never given baldo a shot. I like the edge pecorino brings to the dish and rarely use the quantities typically suggested in many recipes irrespective of choice.
        Have you ever come across Ursula Ferrigno's Risotto? In addition to a wealth of seasonal suggestions, there is an excellent, reasonable vegetable stock recipe I've come to rely upon. I hear you on commercial beef stocks. I'll have to give your fava recipe a go, sounds delicious. Thanks for the thread split.

      2. Really you had me at fava beans. And morels. This sounds fantastic. I have planted favas this year and will make this as soon as they're ready. I won't have access to fresh morels at that time, but will use dried porcinis and maybe some other fresh mushroom (or dried morels). Thanks for the inspiration.

        1. I just made fava bean risotto last night with favas from my garden and mixed greens, mostly chard (also from garden - a little spinach & kale mixed in). So exciting! I didn't need to peel the beans, either. No mushrooms - I have some nice dried porcini but I wanted it to taste more springy and emphasize the greens. I do agree about risotto really benefiting from mushroom water/broth, but in this case I just used homemade chicken broth.

          1. Here is a photo, by the way:

            4 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              So I can time this well, how long do you think peeling the favas take?

              1. re: cassoulady

                Hmm - let me think. First of course you have to remove them from the pods, which I usually do in front of the TV or on the sofa listening to the radio. Maybe that takes ten minutes? And then, after I boil them, maybe it takes another ten minutes or so to slip them out of the pods? I'm really guessing though - I just tend know that they are mindless tasks and make sure to do them ahead of time.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Thanks, I have never taken them out of the skin before ( out of the pod, yes) so I was not sure how arduous a task it was.

                  1. re: cassoulady

                    I don't mind doing it - and, while it took me a while to figure out the best way, the "piercing" with the thumbnail and squeezing it out works well for me. I know others post about never needing to skin them but I've never had one that I liked with the skin on it.