Thursday, January 20, 2011

Black Truffled Risotto with Fried Squash Blossoms

We are blessed in southern California with a growing season that is as plentiful as it is inspirational.  Last week, I stumbled upon a micro season known as squash blossom season, and with that, I relieved my fellow farmer's market farmer of a container, skipped back to my kitchen and went to work on a dinner that united these blossoms with my palate.

Black Truffled Risotto with Fried Squash Blossoms

Total prep and cook time: an hour and a half. (A good risotto emerges on its own time.)

Serves 2, with risotto leftovers

cast-iron pan for frying blossoms
9" saute pan for risotto

6 squash blossoms
3 oz. chevre cheese
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
a few cracks of black pepper

2 cups canola oil for frying

1 egg
1/4 cup organic chicken stock (reserved from stock below)
1/2 cup water
1 cup All-Purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
dash of cayenne pepper
two cracks of black pepper

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2 shallots
3 Tbsp olive oil 1/2 cup of decent dry white wine (hold the rest of the bottle back for the cook and guests)
6 cups chicken stock (hold a quarter cup back for squash blossom batter)
1/2 black truffle (about two tablespoons, see below for substitutions)
2 Tbsp fresh sage
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste
In cast iron skillet, start heating oil on medium-low for frying squash blossoms.  Make sure to tend this along the way so it doesn't get too hot.  

Rinse and pat dry squash blossoms. Carefully open leaves of squash blossoms and remove the pistils from the centers. 
Mix chevre, pepper and grated Parmesan together in a small bowl and carefully add a spoonful to the middle of each blossom, pressing to the bottom of the blossom and taking care to not tear the petals. 
Set aside for battering and frying.

Mix chicken stock and water with one egg and pour this into the cup of flour, salt, cayenne and black pepper.  
Mix thoroughly and let stand while prepping risotto. 

Mince two shallots and set aside in separate bowl.  
Grate Parmesan, mince black truffle and fresh sage leaves and set aside together in a bowl. 
In a pre-heated skillet over medium heat, pour three tablespoons of olive oil and quickly saute shallots. Pour in the dry risotto and coat entirely with the oil and shallots in the pan.  
After risotto is thoroughly coated and sizzling, about five minutes, pour in 1/2 cup of white wine.  Stirring constantly, let this absorb, and begin adding a half a cup of stock at a time, waiting for each measure to completely absorb into risotto before adding another half cup of stock.  
After about 30 minutes, you should have about a cup of stock left and the risotto should start to come together into a creamy mass.  Salt to taste at this point while you add the remaining stock a half cup at a time, for a total of around five and a half cups, stirring for about ten more minutes.  
In the last two minutes of cooking, add the minced sage, black truffles and Parmesan cheese, stir in thoroughly and set risotto aside on a cold burner.

Substitution for black truffle mushroom: Finely chop a cup of button mushrooms (or whatever is available), saute them down with a tablespoon of olive oil and remove from the pan with their juices before proceeding with risotto from the beginning of the recipe.  Add the mushrooms and their juices back in when risotto has ten minutes to go.

Squash Blossoms: 
Increase heat on frying oil to medium. After a few minutes, stir batter and test a small spoonful in the oil to make sure it's ready to go, and fry blossoms quickly, about a minute and a half per side, just until golden brown.  Remove to paper towel-covered plate.

Plate risotto in center of plate and garnish with fresh sage leaves and fresh cracked pepper, place three fried blossoms around the risotto, grab your honey, and dig in.
Action photo, romantic dinner for two.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Really? This type of food is available somewhere in the world?

    It's 9 degrees here now with the wind wailing. Better go see what is in the root cellar.....

  3. oh my precious, how I miss my squash blossoms!! I have to wait until the end of June for blossoms around here! What a wonderful meal a lovely risotto and fried blossoms.....makes me want to move to California!


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