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Wasabi Risotto, The Perfect First-Date Recipe

It's an idealistically simple marriage of Italian and Japanese cuisines. A seemingly strange combination that came to me during an extracurricular thought session I indulged in on a Sunday night many years ago.
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It's an idealistically simple marriage of Italian and Japanese cuisines. A seemingly strange combination that came to me during an extracurricular thought session I indulged in on a Sunday night many years ago. It's actually quite simple and effective (a good friend of mine said he made it for two first dates and that everything worked out afterwards both times).

The dish is a simple spinach risotto paired with black & blue seared tuna. Both Italian and Japanese cuisines have many raw and lightly cooked seafood dishes - so this fusion makes fundamental sense. The curve ball comes with the wasabi part. Here in the USA 95%+ of our 'wasabi' is actually made from horseradish, green coloring and other ingredients. It works out because both real wasabi and horseradish are roots in the brassicaceae family - it's almost like substituting a shallot for an onion. So the play on 'wasabi' is actually freshly grated horseradish root overtop the spinach risotto. It looks like cheese at first glance, which I suppose one could call 'playful deception'. Paired with simply seared tuna, the marriage of these 2 dishes add up to more than the sum of their parts.

Frankie's Wasabi Risotto
(2 servings)

Ingredients:
Olive oil as needed
1 celery stick diced
1 leek diced
1qt chicken broth (as needed)
1 bunch of spinach
Arborio rice (1 cup)
Dijon mustard
1/4 lbs sushi grade tuna
Piave vecchio
Parmigiano Reggiano
Horseradish root
1/2 cup white wine for cooking (the rest for drinking)
2 teaspoon fennel pollen
2 teaspoon jasmine rice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ginger powder

Method:
In a 14" sauté pan add 2TBS of olive oil, 1 chopped leek and 1 diced celery stick. Place the pan over medium heat and sweat. This is your soffritto.

In a food processor or with an immersion blender, combine 2 cups of spinach with 1.5 cups of chicken stock, blend until smooth - the consistency should be like fresh cold pressed juice, if too thick, add more stock.

Add 1 cup of chopped spinach to the soffritto, add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of arborio rice to the pan, stir for one minute, then add plain chicken stock, enough to just cover the rice. Stir occasionally.

Every five minutes or so you'll need to add more liquid, please do so with the spinach broth. After approximately 5 liquid stages, you should begin tasting the rice. When it's al dente but eatable, add white wine as the final liquid stage. Set aside.

Take a 1/4 pound piece of sushi-grade tuna and coat it with 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard. In a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder, combine the fennel pollen, cayenne, jasmine rice, ginger - grind until smooth. Sprinkle that mixture over the mustard rubbed tuna.

Heat a skillet on high, quickly sear all sides of the tuna (no more than 15 seconds per side)

Add Piave vecchio, Parmigiano Reggiano to the risotto pan - make sure the rice is wet enough that it spreads and doesn't clump. If this is the case add a knob of cold butter to the rice, stir. Plate the risotto and add freshly grated horse radish over top. The tuna can be sliced and kissed with sesame oil. serve and enjoy!