Picky Palate Experiment: Leek and Garlic Scape Risotto

Remember the other day when I declared, quite triumphantly, that my son Jack said he “loved” rice? Well, I got a little cocky because I somehow thought that maybe this love of rice, bold as it is, could translate to perhaps, to something a little more…sophisticated. That adventurous palate of his, with his love of all things bland, I thought maybe I could take this love, this exuberant declaration made at the table the other week, and expand upon it. Expand that love into such a bold dish as…risotto.

Then I remembered that he’s four.

As much as I gracefully tried to get him to take a bite, then a little less gracefully begged him to take a bite, he stayed strong. His will was tougher than my 7 PM self could bare and he left it there, untouched, not a grain even lifted from his plate.

Though not all was lost as the adults were well-fed, full of this gorgeous dish, one that was lovingly made that my sons will maybe one day know.

I guess this path I’m on is full of twists and turns as this weekend (without my urging I’ll just say), my older son ate a hotdog. And then another. There were certainly mixed feelings there as it was, yes, a new food, but one that is usually on many kids menus across the country. I should be happy though as really anything new is better than nothing new.

However, perhaps you will have better luck as this risotto is worth making. It’s adapted from my new (old) cookbook which I just rediscovered- Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors which I bought years ago, but forgot about until now. It’s a really terrific book if you are trying to eat in season and especially now with the markets in full swing.

I think I’ll make one more attempt though. So stay tuned for the next episode in the rice series, entitled, “Risotto Cakes. Will they bite?”

Leek and Garlic Scape Risotto 

adapted from Local Flavors,  by Deborah Madison

1 large or 2 small leeks, white parts only

2 garlic scapes, chopped (if you don’t have garlic scapes, use a few cloves fresh garlic)

2 T butter

1 cup white wine

salt and pepper

6 cups veggie or chicken stock

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup creme fraiche or cream

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

chopped parsley

Cut white part of the leek in half longways and chop into 1/4 inch slices. Fill a bowl of water and put sliced leeks in and swish around until all dirt it out of the leeks (dirt can get trapped inside the leek so don’t skip this step.) Melt 2 T butter in a pan and add leeks and scapes (or garlic), stir, then add 1/2 cup wine and cook for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small pot, heat stock.

Add rice to pan with garlic and stir for one minute. Pour in the other 1/2 cup wine and simmer until absorbed. Add 2 cups hot stock to rice pan and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Begin adding 1/2 cupfuls of stock, stirring each time until absorbed until rice is done and seems creamy. Stir in the cream, cheese and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

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12 thoughts on “Picky Palate Experiment: Leek and Garlic Scape Risotto

  1. I know all about the fickleness of kids’ palates. But don’t give up the faith! After the 20th attempt he might declare he “likes” it again. What I do is put something new on the plate and if it goes untouched i remove it, wrap it in plastic and fridge it. Then when He’s watching his afternoon TV for the half hour he gets, I give him the plate of food again, rewarmed in the micro if required. Sometimes he’s hungry enough now to try it. Sometimes he eats it and sometimes he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, I throw it out out and a few days later start all over again. Sigh.

  2. I agree with Michelle. More for the adults!

    I don’t know how my parents did it, but I don’t remember ever being able to not eat something because I didn’t like it. It was pretty much understood that if I didn’t eat, I would starve! So now I eat everything. My brothers used to eat everything, and now that they have control over what they eat, they eat bland food, sandwiches, and pizza. All the time. It’s like they reverted back to the kids menu at 25!

  3. I’ve heard that pickier kids have more sensitive palates, and therefore (eventually) become more enthusiastic eaters … but really Robin, that rice to risotto leap is asking a lot, wouldn’t you say? 😉

  4. A week or two ago I bought some scapes at the farmer’s market… I sauteed them in olive oil and added to spaghetti with parmesan and spinach. But the scapes were woody and tough! Rock-hard, not pleasant to eat. I’d never cooked them before: do you think it was a mistake to not cook them in some liquid? Were your scapes soft in the risotto? I’m curious. Because this sounds delicious!… but now I fear The Scape.

    1. They were! They were sauteed first, then cooked along with the rice so they were nice and soft- they lose a lot of their bite when they cook for a long time though- so I would probably amp up the amount next time- but no problems with them being tough! I’d try them again. They’re worth it. I’ve also even cut them into salads for a little garlic bite in the greens and that has been fine, too. Let me know how it works out!

      1. Well shoot. I will try them again, on your recommendation… I’m sure my problem was not cooking them long enough. Also — I didn’t slice them in the manner of a scallion being sliced, for example — i cut them into 2-inch lengths, because i thought that would fit well with the shape of the spaghetti. live and learn! thanks for the advice 🙂

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