Risotto with Fiddleheads and Morels


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup small fiddleheads, tightly curled, rinsed, blanched, a
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups fresh morel mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced shallot (1 small shallot)
4 cups vegetable stock, divided
1 large red onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1-1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
3 ounces vermouth or crisp white wine (Lee prefers Orvieto f
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed, stems discarded
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Garnish: shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


1. In a medium saute pan over medium high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and cook fiddleheads until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and cook morels and shallot until shallot is translucent. Add ¼ cup vegetable stock and cook until most of liquid has cooked down. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, saute red onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent. Remove from heat and stir in rice. Continue stirring 45 seconds. Lower heat to medium, add wine, and cook until liquid has just evaporated.

4. Add ⅔ cup vegetable stock, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add remaining stock ½ cup at a time, stirring well, until rice is al dente: slightly firm when bitten, but not mushy.

5. Fold in fiddleheads, remaining butter, thyme, and cheese. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide risotto into six warm bowls, and spoon morel/shallot mixture and shaved cheese on top.

Adapted from Cinque Terre and Vignola recipe

Risotto is a slow-cooked dish made with starchy, short-grain rice. It’s a perfect example of what Lee Skawinski does so well: taking traditional foods and refining them with his own flourishes, in this case, the addition of bright and nutty spring fiddlehead ferns and earthy morel mushrooms. This dish is beautiful and deeply satisfying. Be sure to use Arborio, Carnaroli, or other rice appropriate for risotto.


6 servings

Preparation Time: 

60 minutes

Start to Finish Time: 

60 minutes

Preparation Method


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Morels must be cooked

Morels must be cooked thoroughly or they can make you sick, especially if served with alcohol. I have hunted them and eaten them for over 35 years and have seem many give them a light saute only to get violently ill after.

Thank you for pointing this

Thank you for pointing this out, Betty. Yes, morels should be cooked thoroughly or sickness can occur. You will notice in our recipe that the morels are first sauteed and then boiled in broth.