02.20.2015

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It seems as though everyone on the island is preparing for the mass school vacation exodus. I popped into the bookstore this morning to grab this book for our trip (not that I’ll be leisurely reading on the plane but love the idea of a “vacation book”) and overhead three conversations about the eagerness to escape and what new books to pack. And this island we are all fleeing? Well it looks something like a magical (but really freakin’ cold) ice kingdom. Here I’m sharing some of local photographer Alison Shaw’s amazing shots.

Before we go, I had to try this Oven Risotto with Kale Pesto from the February issue of Bon Appetit. It lived up to all my expectations and makes the perfect winter dinner.

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Oven Risotto with Kale Pesto

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped, divided

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 small garlic clove
1 cup (packed) fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 cups Tuscan kale leaves, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about 2 cups)

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Preheat oven to 350 F. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and translucent, 5-8 minutes. Stir in rice; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until some grains are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups very hot water; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and bake in oven until liquid is mostly absorbed but rice is still starchy in the center, 15-18 minutes (it should be undercooked).

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Meanwhile, pulse garlic and half of toasted walnuts in a food processor until very finely ground. Add parsley, chives, half of kale, remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 1/4 cup cold water; process until smooth; season pesto with salt and pepper.

Set saucepan over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup very hot water and cook rice, stirring occasionally, until it is tender but still has some bite and sauce is creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir pesto, butter, three-quarters Parmesan, and remaining kale. Adjust consistency with water, if needed (I did), season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with remaining walnuts and cheese.

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