June is almost over and i can't let this month pass without a nod to the current Berlin food obsession: strawberries. All the Beelitzer spargel stands have been replaced by cute Erdbeer huts selling local strawberries. These are definitely strawberries worth waiting for. These aren't those huge but tasteless things your local supermarket tries to pass off as a strawberry. These are the real thing. Every bite gives you that strawberry taste you remember from your youth but never found again....until now!
You can buy generous 1kg crates from a hut for 4.50Euro Not a bad deal at all in my opninion.
So what to do with all these strawberries? Make Strawberry Risotto of course! People's first reaction when i mention strawberry risotto is to ask -- is it a dessert? When i tell them no, it's a savoury dish they still look skeptical. But trust me, this dish definitely works as either a nice starter or even as a main. I used Tessa Kiros' Strawberry Risotto recipe from her fabulous book Twelve.
Risotto alla Fragola
from Twelve by Tessa Kiros
1.5 litres meat or chicken stock
1 medium French shallot, peeled and very finely chopped
250g ripe strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
3 Tbsp good quality brandy
500 risotto rice
50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
- Heat the stock in a large saucepan and keep it on a gentle simmer.
- Heat half of the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Saute the French shallot on a low heat until it has softened and add half of the strawberries. Cook gently for a couple of minutes, then add the brandy. When it has evaporated, add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon to coat all the rice. Season with salt and pepper and add a ladleful of hot stock, stirring almost continuously to prevent the rice from sticking.
- When the rice has absorbed the liquid, add another ladleful and continue stirring, making sure you move all the rice at the bottom of the pan with the spoon. After about 20 minutes, taste the rice. It should be soft yet firm, and the texture should be creamy and slightly liquid. You may have to continue cooking it for a few more minutes.
- Add the remaining straweberry halves, the butter and the 50g of Parmesan cheese and stir in . Serve immediately with a grinding of black pepper and extra Parmesan cheese.