On June 19th, four of our most talented teen chefs from the Drew Hamilton center in Harlem came downtown to the magnificent Astor Center kitchen to work with Ellie Krieger, host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite and member of the Sylvia Center culinary advisory council. They worked on two seasonal recipes: Ellie’s Garden Risotto with freshly shelled peas and asparagus, and her Balsamic Glazed Strawberries with Chilled Ricotta Cream. The students’ skills were on display as they chopped, sautéed, measured, whisked, and simmered for the next hour. Our guests all agreed that the food was sensational, and the student chefs had to agree. Our thanks to Ms. Krieger for having spent such a lovely afternoon with us.
Spring Green Risotto
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 lightly packed cups baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 pound asparagus, steamed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Bring the broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over moderately low heat and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup of the hot broth, the salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper and simmer, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding hot broth, about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing the broth to be absorbed before adding more, until rice is almost tender and creamy-looking, about 18 minutes.
Add the spinach and peas and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the asparagus and cook just until the vegetables are hot. Stir in the Parmesan and more broth if the risotto seems too thick. Serve in soup plates.
Balsamic Glazed Strawberries with Ricotta Cream
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 (16-ounce) container strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
In a small saucepan combine the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool completely.
In a medium bowl, toss the berries with the basil and the balsamic syrup.
Divide the cream among 4 cocktail glasses, top with the berry mixture and serve.