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Risotto is a good basic side dish that everyone should learn to make.  You can do so much with a basic recipe to compliment any of your *star* attractions at dinner.  For this recipe I used our basic risotto recipe and added some of the wonderful ramps and morels we received last week, from David at Earthy Delights. I did not want the morels to over power the ramps so I used a small amount of morels and doubled the amount of ramps.  As well I created a wonderful pesto using the leafy greens from the ramps and used some as a garnish.  It was amazing.  The pesto was slightly spicy and added a nice zing to the creamy risotto.

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Recipe:  Risotto with Morels and Ramps

* serves 4

1/2 lb morels, quartered and cleaned (instructions)

2 bunch of ramps, white parts only, mince

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup good white wine

2 cups risotto rice

6 cups quality chicken stock

2 tablespoons butter

sea salt

cracked black pepper

Heat the olive oil and add ramps (white parts), saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the morels.  Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes.  Add the wine and cook until reduced about another 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Heat stock to boiling, reduce to a simmer.  Add the risotto to the pan which you saute the ramps in.  Warm the rice for about 3 minutes.  Add a cup of the stock and cook until reduced.  Add another cup and continue until you have a creamy rice mixture, slightly al dente.   Add the butter and stir until creamy, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the ramp and morel mixture, cook for 5 minutes.  Plate, and then drizzle some pesto over the top.  Serve.  Eat.

Recipe:  Ramp Pesto

2 bunch of leafy greens from Ramps

1/4 cup olive oil

Add ramps to a food processor.  Blend until chopped.  Slowly add olive oil and blend until smooth.

* I did not add nuts as I want to experiment with different combinations, so I put the mixture into the freezer for later.  I put 1/4 cup portions into small bags, into the freezer, you can also use an ice tray to freeze it into individual portions.

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