Chef Chris Franz
Atwater in the Park
Chef Franz created this recipe when he was chef at the Rattlesnake Club, down the street from his current Detroit restaurant, Atwater in the Park. Instead of the rice called for in traditional risotto, he uses buckwheat groats—a darker, nuttier grain. The recipe includes sausage, which can be eliminated if a meatless risotto is desired. A chutney made with pears and onions adds contrasting texture and flavor.
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 small shallots, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2½ cups buckwheat groats, rinsed and drained
1½ to 2 qt. chicken or vegetable stock, warmed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, to taste
3 lb. sausage, grilled
¼ cup whole-grain mustard
2 tbsp. olive oil
2½ cups cippolini onions, peeled and diced
4 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and diced
¼ cup honey
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1. Prepare risotto: Over low heat, warm butter and olive oil in a large skillet with high sides. Add shallot, onion and garlic; saute until translucent. Stir in buckwheat until thoroughly coated with oil.
2. Stir in wine; increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is nearly completely absorbed.
3. Using a ladle, gradually add warm stock to buckwheat mixture, being careful not to add more liquid before the previous addition is absorbed. Continue until buckwheat no longer absorbs liquid and the grains are slightly chewy. (Risotto will be cooked through when slightly al dente.) Remove from heat but keep warm.
4. Meanwhile, prepare chutney: In large, heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and pears; saute until well-caramelized and deep golden brown. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
5. Stir honey, Dijon mustard, vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes and cinnamon into pear mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add additional olive oil to achieve desired consistency, if desired.
6. To serve, season risotto with salt and pepper and stir in Parmesan cheese, if desired. Spoon risotto into bowls; top with grilled, sliced sausage and chutney.
Photo courtesy of Pear Bureau Northwest/USA Pears