Sometimes, we feel the desire to run away from the routine of our city life. We have the desire for something different. That is why we went to visit our friend il Viandante and he showed us his botanical knowledge for a perfect winter risotto.
IL RISOTTO DEL VIANDANTE.
Il Viandante, Danilo, is a walking botanical encyclopaedia. Walk with him down the street, in a bush or in a garden and he will find a thousand plants you could use for medical reasons and more.
With a degree in Agriculture and Natural Science from University of Federico II of Naples and years of experience in many sectors of hospitality, he decided once landing in Australia to move to the countryside and get his hands dirty with plants and animals.
Danilo is our 100% organic food supplier, and our special consultant when it comes to planting and veggie gardening.
Did you know you could use the stinging nettle in different recipes? We did not till now!
THE INGREDIENTS FOR OUR RISOTTO. FARM GATE: THE NETTLE.
We just arrived in Seymour. Our friend Danilo is waiting for us. We need a coffee. The day can not start in a good way without a coffee. Without a coffee with a friend.
We stop at this tiny fruit shop which also make amazing coffee, the Farm Gate. Bernard, the guy who run the spot is very proud of his espresso. And actually it was very good! Ah che bellu cafe’, sul a Seymour o’ sann fa! (TRANSLATION Not AVAILABLE)
While we were having our coffee my eyes finished on a strange bunch of weed. It is nettle.
We said hello to Bernard and his amazing vegetables and fruit. Look a them. So perfect with their small imperfection. They have no chemical treatments. See you soon.
RISOTTO NETTLE AND …
We left Seymour. We are in the middle of nowhere surrounded by trees and sheep. The landscape is am…[NO INTERNET CONNECTION].
Forget about of your phone. Stop checking if someone has wrote you. No one did. Stop to play Pokemon. There is a real koala crossing the road, deer and other beautiful things that are more important to be lived than to be shared.
Our second stop is at the restaurant where Danilo works as a chef: The Ruffy Produce Store.
Here we met the beautiful and gentle Helen and of course her cat: Lucky Boy.
A great country cafe in the tranquil heart of the panoramic Strathbogie Ranges, quirky, cosy, country and inviting, the Ruffy Produce Store is a great little spot in a wide open space.
Warm and cosy in winter the store is comfortable, rustic and at the heart of the country community.
In their veggie-garden, of which Danilo took care as a child, we found our second ingredient: the Calendula flower. A perfect flower which will give the right colour to our Risotto. But not only, the Calendula flower is also good for your health helping speed up healing of wounds and minor cuts, and also benefits insect bites, acne, and bed sores .
We were looking for our last ingredient. Something with a different consistency to create a contrast with the other ingredients. Helen solved the problem. She gave us some local nuts, and a bunch of food waste and scrap from the restaurant for Danilo’s chickens. We do not waste anything.
IL RISOTTO DEL VIANDANTE: NETTLE, WALNUTS and CALENDULA FLOWER.
[Portions: 4 ppl][Preparation: 15min][Cooking: 20 min]
. 350 gr of riso arborio
. 1 shallot, finely chopped
. 2 anchovies fillet
. 4 tbs of e.v.o
. 1 glass of dry white wine ( Make two if you like to have one while you cook)
. 50 gr of halved walnuts, sprinkled
. 100gr of nettle, just the leaves
. 10 calendula flower, plus 4 for garnish
. 1 lt of vegetable stock (we did our: 1 onion, 1 carrot, and 1 tomato)
. 20 gr of butter
. salt&pepper, to taste
- In a pot add a liter of water, 1 onion, 1 carrot, and one tomato (and herbs if you like), salt and pepper. Let it boil then simmer. That is your stock. So far, good job!
- In a large pan add the olive oil. how much? 4 spoon, more or less. Dissolve the anchovies. Add the finely chopped shallots and toast the rice. Add a glass of white wine and let it simmer. Yes, you can have the other glass of wine now.
- Add half of the walnuts. Don’t eat the rest! You need as garnish. I know you don’t care of the garnish, but don’t!
- In a glass add some broth and put inside only the petals from the calendula, it will release an orange bright color.
- Add the nettle leaves, more stock to cook the rise. and the glass with the calendula flower. Not the whole glass! The liquid inside!
- Stir sometime, adding water till the rice is cooked as you like. Add the butter and manteca bene.
- Serve in a nice plate or whatever you have, sprinkle some walnuts on top and some calendula petals and flowers