Spring Risotto Recipe
Risotto is a food that I love to eat when other people make it for me. It's not the challenge of getting it just right that intimidates me; if I happen to turn away from the rice for a bit too long to answer a text message, and the mixture gets a little dry, I'm still happy to eat it. Generally, though, the attention risotto requires doesn't justify the taste.
To get a risotto right, you have to stir, stir, stir while slowly adding in simmering broth so that the rice releases its starchiness in just the right way, creating a rich and creamy dish. Also, almost all of the flavor comes from a great broth (and occasionally some white wine), so homemade stock makes all the difference. I need to get better about this, but I never make stock. When I do, I'm thrilled that I have it, and I use it all up in no time. Usually, though, I can't justify buying a whole bunch of vegetables and herbs just to boil their flavor into some soup. I know; a carrot doesn't cost much. But wouldn't you rather roast it in some butter than simmer it 'til it falls apart? Sorry, but soup is a total throw-away food. What a waste. I'd much rather chew my food than slurp it down.
Those are some reasons I never make risotto. However, there's one time of year when I make an exception and that's now, when peas and asparagus are just right. Pea and asparagus risotto tastes like spring, to me. The earthy and slightly funky flavors of both veggies, stirred into creamy rice, with a good bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano combines all of the flavors that help to chase the winter away. Sometimes I like to dial up the woodsy flavor with some dried porcini—mm! I crave this every May... and I inevitably make way too much. Turn it into arancini the next day if, like me, you can't finish it all at once.
This recipe was based off of one by the one and only Ina Garten.
Spring Pea and Asparagus Risotto
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup mushrooms (cremini or shiitake)
- 1 bunch asparagus, prepped and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 3/4 cup peas
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 4 - 5 cups simmering chicken stock
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- salt and freshly grated pepper
- 3 Tablespoons chopped chives
- In a heavy-bottomed dutch oven, heat oil and butter until hot and shimmering. Add in onion and cook on medium-low heat.
- Also note that recipe calls for simmering chicken stock. If you haven't gotten that on the stove yet, do so now!
- Meanwhile, bring water to a boil and quickly blanche asparagus and peas. (Cook in boiling water for a few moments until their color becomes a vibrant green. Promptly remove and then place in bowl of ice water; reserve for later.) Turn off heat on water and then toss in dried mushrooms to rehydrate while you return to tending to the onions.
- When onions become translucent, add in rice and stir, stir, stir! Turn up heat to medium-high. One or two ladlefuls at a time, add in chicken stock and continue to constantly stir rice as it absorbs the liquid. Do not add in more ladlefuls until all of the liquid is absorbed. Mixture will become thick and creamy as you add in more stock--in total, you'll likely be stirring/adding in liquid for about 25 or 30 minutes.
- When you're about halfway through adding in liquid, toss in the asparagus, peas and mushrooms. If you're using larger mushrooms, you may wish to give them a rough chop before tossing in!
- Once through with all of the stock, turn off heat and add in lemon juice, yogurt, cheese, and liberal amounts of salt and pepper. Give a big stir, taste and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Scoop servings into bowls and top with chives. I also like to serve with additional pepper!