Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spring Vegetable Risotto

This is a creamy, lemony risotto overloaded {in a good way} with fresh, spring vegetables. It's a recipe from Ina Garten that is simply perfect. Tender asparagus, leeks, fennel and peas; a generous dose of lemon juice and lemon zest; a magical blend of spicy nutty, Reggiano Parmesan and sweet, creamy mascarpone cheese. Truly one of the best and most unique risotto recipes. 

Spring Green Risotto

1 T + 1/2 T olive oil
1 T + 1/2 T butter
2 leeks, white and light green parts chopped
1 c chopped fennel bulb
1 c + 1/2 c Arborio rice
2/3 c dry white wine
5 c simmering vegetable stock
1 lb asparagus tips {*}
10 oz frozen peas, defrosted
1 T grated lemon zest
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 c masarpone cheese
1/2 c freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 T minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

Place broth in a sauce pan and simmer.

Snap off and discard the tough ends of asparagus. Cut asparagus on the diagonal into generous 1" lengths. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 minutes then drain and cool in an ice bath.  Drain and set aside.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add rice and stir to coat with the oil and butter. Add white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add broth, 2 ladles at a time, stirring constantly, waiting for the broth to be absorbed before adding more stock. After 15 minutes of adding broth and stirring, add the asparagus, lemon zest, peas, 2 t salt and 1 t pepper to the risotto. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the rice is tender but firm. You will use most if not all of the stock and the entire process of adding broth to the risotto should take about 30 minutes. Sounds long, but get yourself a glass of wine to sip and the time will pass quickly. 

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off heat and stir in mascarpone mixture and Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and additional Parmesan.

Serves 6.

{*} Purchase a little more than 1 lb of asparagus as you will snap off and discard the tough ends.
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Source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, House Beautiful

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