One always hears that risotto must be stirred constantly. This is not true. While you must stir frequently and pay attention to risotto, you can let it simmer away for short periods while you prepare other parts of the meal, or set the table, etc.

The recipe calls for the ‘dino’ (lacinato) kale, but any kale will do–you may just have to cook the other types of kale a bit longer. Store-bought roasted pumpkin seeds are fine here; or else toast your own. Recipe for toasting pumpkin seeds follows the risotto recipe.

3 chicken or vegetable broth
3 water, or use all broth
1 t sea salt, optional
1 bunch kale, stems and center ribs removed, coarsely chopped
1-1/4 c chopped onion
1 T olive oil
2 T unsalted butter, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 c Arborio rice
1/3 c dry white wine
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
pepper, to taste
toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

1. Bring broth and water to a boil with salt in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Add kale, in batches if necessary, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer kale with tongs to a colander set over a bowl. Gently press on greens to extract more liquid. Return this liquid back to simmering broth. Keep broth at a bare simmer. If you like, when the kale has cooled some, you can chop it up more finely.

2. Cook onion in oil and 1 T of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add rice and cook, stirring, for a minute or so, until the rice grains are well coated with the oil and butter.

3. Add wine and simmer briskly, stirring, until the wine is absorbed. Stir in 1/2 c of the simmering stock and cook, stirring more or less constantly, until stock is absorbed. Continue this process, adding broth in 1/2 c increments, letting each 1/2 c addition be absorbed before adding more, stirring, more or less constantly, until rice is creamy-looking but still al dente (about 18 minutes–there will be left-over stock).

4. Stir in kale, cheese, remaining 1 T of butter and cook, stirring, until heated through and butter is incorporated, about a minute. Season with pepper, and, if desired, thin risotto with some of the remaining stock. Serve sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds.


Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Good for snacking, too.

1 c green (hulled) pumpkin seeds or 1 c seeds from your winter squash, rinsed and air-dried
1 T olive oil
salt, to taste

1. Cook pumpkin seeds in a dry 9- to 10-inch heavy skillet (like cast-iron) over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in oil and salt.