Spring is back, and if you enjoy rambling across the countryside, observing plants and flowers, you will certainly come across young shoots of bladder-campion or maiden’s-tears sprouting in the meadows. The Latin name for this weed is Silene vulgaris, but in our region we call it sciopeti, because of the popping sound that their balloon-shaped blossoms make when children burst them between their hands…
200 g (approx.) campion shoots
320 g Carnaroli rice
1 carrot, 1 onion and 1 stick of celery (for the vegetable stock)
Extra virgin olive oil
Half a glass of dry white wine
Grated parmesan cheese
A knob of butter.
Prepare the vegetable stock with an onion cut into four pieces, a coarsely diced carrot, well washed but left unpeeled, and a small stick of celery.
Clean and rinse the campion shoots and chop them finely. Sweat the chopped shallot in a pan drizzled with a few spoonfuls of extra virgin oil. Add the shoots and sauté for a few minutes. Add the rice, and keep stirring until the rice is translucent. Add the white wine and simmer until it evaporates. Add the warm broth, one ladle at a time, mixing continuously until the rice is nearly cooked. Add some grated parmesan cheese and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. Turn the heat off, add a knob of butter and mix well, then cover and let the risotto rest for a few minutes before serving.
For a stronger flavour, blanche the shoots in some boiling water before chopping and frying them with the shallot. You then use this water instead of the vegetable stock.