The story of Jack and the beanstalk is true. At least in my garden. Not only do we have young climbers already reaching ten feet, but we also have an endless harvest of bush beans from just a few plants. The trick is to keep them picked so they renew themselves. However, since you’re not supposed to be handling wet plants (beans “rust”), there have been a few rainy days that resulted in slightly bulging pods. These needed a good long cook to be tender so risotto seemed like the right idea. I cooked the beans in a combination of chicken stock and corn broth (from the cobs) before making the risotto, eking out every last drop of nutrients and flavor. This made a perfect summer supper served with melon and prosciutto as our “salad.”
Green Bean Risotto
A large handful of green beans (about ½ lb)
4-5 c chicken stock or vegetable broth or a combination
Olive oil and/or butter
½ medium onion, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
¼ cup white wine
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt and white pepper to taste
Prepare the beans. Wash, top and tail the beans and cut them into ½-inch lengths. Bring the stock or broth to a boil in a large saucepan and add the beans, cooking them until tender, 4-7 minutes depending on the size and age of the beans. Remove the beans to a bowl and keep the liquid warm.
Make the risotto. In a medium saucepan, saute the onion slowly in butter and/or oil until translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the white wine and stir to allow it to evaporate. Add 1/3 cup of stock, turn the heat to medium low or low (so it just simmers) and stir until the stock is absorbed. When the liquid is absorbed, add another 1/3 cup of stock, wait until it’s absorbed, stirring occasionally, and then repeat until the rice is tender but still al dente. This process will take about 20-25 minutes.
Add the green beans to the risotto when it is nearly done. Finish with the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Serves 3-4 as a main course.