- Author: Marilyn Hawkes
- Category: Veg Out
- Issue: Jul 2014
For vegetarians, steakhouse menus can be problematic. But not at J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician, which offers a stunning vegetable risotto that changes with the seasons. In the spring and early summer, chef de cuisine Jacques Qualin cooks up a tasty asparagus risotto ($10) with a twist, veering from traditional Arborio rice. “We wanted to include a little bit of an Asian touch, so we use Nishiki sushi rice,” Qualin says.
To make the dish, Qualin sweats (sautés) fennel and white mushrooms in olive oil and then adds the rice, which is cooked slowly in a broth made from herbal tea, asparagus peelings, herbs and a touch of Thai chili. Opon serving, Qualin adds mascarpone and grated Parmesan cheeses, asparagus puree for a splash of bright green color, and mushroom vinaigrette. The risotto is crowned with asparagus tips charred in a hot, smoky pan, strewn with lemon zest, a sprinkle of chives and freshly ground white pepper. Qualin says the dish is defined by its freshness. “The puree is important because it brings out the flavor of the asparagus. When you eat risotto, you want to feel all the ingredients inside.”
6000 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale