Veggie Risotto Tower

People have been asking how to re-create this plate. It’s a basic risotto dish that I added sautéed asparagus to. The bottom of this dish is a Himalayan Black rice. I have PVC pipes left over from the restaurant that I would stack cobb salads in (creative aren’t I? my husband thought I was crazy when I sent him to home depot for these ). the PVC pipe is about 4 inches in diameter and cut in 3 inch sections. If you like to entertain you will need a few of these.

Plating: place some fresh arugula on your plate, now place the PVC pipe on top. Spoon in your black rice and pat down. Now spoon in your risotto on top, and pat down again. Add some springs of arugula, parmesan curls (use your vegetable peeler & wedge of parm) baby tomatoes cut in half. Using one hand on top to hold everything in place, your other hand slowly removing the PVC pipe. Drizzle a little EVOO and you have a beautiful plate.

Fall is coming, try this presentation with a roasted butternut squash risotto.

Basic Risotto

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons shallots minced
2 cups arborio rice
½ cup white wine, dry
5 – 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (warm on the stove top)
sea salt & pepper for seasoning
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated


In a heavy, wide 3- to 4-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and shallots and cook them until golden, stirring often. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Toast the rice until the edges become translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour in the wine and stir well until evaporated. Add 1/2 cup of the hot stock Cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed. Continue to add hot stock in small batches,  just enough to completely moisten the rice, and cook until liquid has been absorbed. Stir constantly and adjust the level of heat so the rice is simmering very gently while adding the stock until the rice mixture is creamy but al dente. This will take from 20 to 30 minutes from the time the wine was added.

Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the butter until completely melted, then half of the grated cheese. Adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper, if necessary.

You may or may not use all of the broth. It is very important to taste the risotto as it is cooking. Risotto is a tasting game and not a timing game, you will not use the same amount of liquid or cook the exact same time next time you make risotto.

This is my base recipe. You may add any flavor profiles that you like.


  • sautéed asparagus with lemon zest & juice
  • roasted butternut squash & fresh sage
  • roasted apples, bacon & hard cider

BLACK RICE follow instructions on the pkg. I use the Lotus Foods brand you can get at Sprouts, Whole Foods, King Sooper’s. I sautéed a little garlic, onion & red pepper before adding the liquid & rice for some additional flavor.