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Cutting Celery is an herb that in our house we use in many places where celery flavor is sought after: sauteed with onions as a soup base for instance. It's leaves can also be used raw in a salad: a classic lettuce salad, a rice or pasta salad, etc. It has a true celery flavor and as long as that flavor doesn't disrupt the rest of the dish, cutting celery leaves can be used in most places Italian parsley is used.
*Cutting celery is also called smallage, or soup celery. It's the classic 'straw' in a an elegant bloody mary: the stem with the leaves on the end.
Here's a risotto recipe I've adapted from Viana La Place's Verdura:
Pink Risotto with Celery
1 largeish bunch of cutting celery
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
3 green garlic stalks, cleaned as leeks and chopped, discarding the dark green leaves
1 Tbs. chopped Italian parsley
3 canned tomatoes, seeded and chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided
2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for table
Finely dice the celery stalks and leaves, (reserving a few of the leaves), by cutting the stalks lengthwise into thin strips, then bunching the strips together and cutting them crosswise. In a small saute pan, combine the olive oil, garlic, and parsley. Cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until garlic is opaque. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Cover over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Set aside off the heat. Bring the broth to boil in a saucepan. Turn off the heat and keep on the stove with the lid on. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the diced celery and leaves, except for the reserved leaves, and toss in the butter. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains. Let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add enough broth to just cover the rice and celery and bring to a simmer. Keep the lid partially on the saucepan and stir often, until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth, just enough to cover, and stir frequently, until the rice is al dente and the risotto is creamy and liquid. This should take approximately 18 minutes. In the final few minutes of cooking, stir in the remaining celery leaves. Off the heat, stir in the remaining tablespoons of butter and the grated Parmesan cheese. Taste for salt and add more if necessary. Grind a little black pepper over the top and stir again. Serve in shallow pasta bowls with extra grated Parmesan cheese at the table. Serves 4.
Julia's Celery Soup
Take a bunch of smallage (soup celery) and wash it. Roughly chop and set aside. Chop 4 stalks of green garlic (including some of the light green part) and sautee briefly in butter or olive oil. Add one cubed raw potato if you like. Add the entire bunch of roughly chopped smallage (cutting celery). Add 4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth. Cook for 15-20 minutes on medium heat. Puree with immersible blender or food processor. Thin with milk if you like. Season to taste with S & P.
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