Nettle and Mushroom Risotto

Nettles dark green leaves are so nutritious! If you do not have access to fresh nettles, you can substitute kale or spinach. As far as I am concerned, risotto is as flavorful and nutritious as the broth you make it with. I made this with homemade chicken stock and the soaking liquid from dehydrated mushrooms.

1 cup (about 40 grams) dried mushrooms (I used shiitake and maitake), soaked in 2 cups warm water for 1 to 2 hours 

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

46 asparagus spears, cut into bite-sized pieces

cup fresh scallion or onion tops

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 cups Arborio rice

4 cups broth (homemade chicken or vegetable stock will yield the best results)

2 packed cups (about 340 grams) nettle leaves (wear gloves when handling fresh nettles)

3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Salt and pepper

Drain mushrooms, reserving soaking liquid. Cut mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Saut asparagus in oil until tender. Once cooked, turn off heat, add scallions, minced garlic, and a pinch of salt. Set aside, off heat.

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat broth and reserved mushroom soaking liquid and keep at a simmer on low heat. In a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add rice and stir well. Once rice is coated with oil, reduce heat to low, add rehydrated mushroom pieces, nettle leaves, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Begin to add stock to the rice mixture cup at a time. Stir continually until the rice has absorbed the stock, then add another cup of stock. Continue to add stock bit by bit, stirring continually and adding more liquid once the previous amount has been absorbed. Once stock is completely absorbed, taste the rice. If it is not done to your liking add additional water in -cup increments until the rice is tender. Stir in salt to taste, the sauteed asparagus mixture, and goat cheese. Turn off heat and cover with a lid. Let sit about 5 minutes before serving.