The lemongrass in our garden is already tall and ready to cook with. Love that! Lemongrass is frequently used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, but for this dish, we added its exotic, bright flavor to an Italian meal: risotto. This fusion is a match made in heaven, combining the Asian tastes of lemongrass and coconut with Italian arborio rice, white wine with garlic.
Don’t have lemongrass in your garden? (It’s easy to grow by the way. Try it, lemongrass loves container gardens, too!) We have found it locally at regular grocery stores with the fresh herbs in the produce section and any Asian grocer will definitely have it! Try something different for dinner – lemongrass is refreshing and also makes a wonderful tea that can be served hot or cold.
2 cans coconut milk
2 stalks of fresh lemongrass
2-3 cloves garlic
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup dry white wine
2 shallots, finely minced
Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, to garnish (optional)
Start by making lemongrass infusion. Combine 2 cans coconut milk with chopped lemongrass and mashed garlic in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and turn off. Allow to sit at least one hour, or store in fridge overnight to maximize flavors.
To make risotto, two large cook pots are needed.
Start by draining lemongrass infusion liquid into a saucepan and add vegetable broth and dry white wine. Discard lemongrass and garlic solids. Warm gently over medium heat.
In a second saucepan, toast arborio rice over medium-low heat until nutty-smelling and lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add 2 cups of the coconut milk-vegetable broth-wine combination and stir into rice. Add chopped shallots. Stir frequently and continue to add more liquid by the 1/2-cup as it is absorbed. When all the liquid is in the rice, and the texture is thick and stick, it’s done!
Serve warm and garnish as desired with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro.