Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spring Vegetable Risotto

So at this point I'm sure you are sick of traditional cookout food now that Memorial Day Weekend is over. I bet half of you feel like you could turn into a hot dog or hamburger if you tried hard enough. I'm also pretty sure everyone is feeling a little guilty about those extra drinks they had or that last piece of pie they couldn't say no to, or maybe it's just me. Either way I figured it was time for a healthy recipe with lots of vegetables so we can make up for those guilty feelings people normally experience after a long holiday weekend.

Adapted from: http://www.annies-eats.com/

4 Cups Warm Vegetable Stock
2 Shallots - Diced
3 Cups Leeks (About 2) - Chopped both white & green parts
1 lb Asparagus - Thin Spears cut into 1inch pieces
10oz Frozen Peas - Thawed
1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Zest
2 Tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 1/2 Cup Risotto (Arborio Rice)
1 1/2 Tbsp I Can't Believe it's Not Butter for Cooking and Baking
1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2/3 Cup White Wine
1/3 Cup Mascarpone Cheese
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese plus extra for topping
2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
3 Tbsp Chives for topping

I will admit this is a little involved so your best bet is to prep the veggies now so that when you need to start adding them into the risotto everything is ready to go. Your peas should already be thawed, dice your shallot and chop up your leeks. Get your asparagus ready to be blanched as well. Since I had never eaten or cooked with a leek before I actually had to ask the produce person in the grocery store where they were because I wasn't sure what they looked like haha. What I did learn is that they are very dirty so make sure to clean them well before chopping them up. I would suggest soaking them for a few minutes in some warm water.
Heat the olive oil and the I Can't Believe it's Not Butter at the same time in a large pan over medium heat. After the butter has melted, add the shallots and leeks. Cook until tender about 5-7 minutes.
Pour the vegetable broth in a medium sized pan and heat it up until simmering. Reduce it to low and keep the broth warm as you prepare the risotto.
Add the risotto to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Next add the white wine and allow it to simmer for a minute, stirring constantly until almost all of the wine has been absorbed. Once the wine is gone you can begin slowly adding the warm vegetable broth 2/3 of a cup at a time. Stir frequently, be careful not to add another round of broth until the previous broth has been soaked up by the rice.
While the risotto is cooking you can blanch the asparagus in salted boiling water for 5 minutes until slightly tender. When they are done cooking immediately put the asparagus in cold water to stop the cooking process and keep them crisp until it is time to add them into the risotto. Dice them into 1 inch pieces.
When the risotto has cooked for about 15 minutes you can add the peas and pieces of asparagus. Carefully stir everything together. Next you can add the salt, pepper and lemon zest. Conitue cooking the risotto stirring frequently and adding the broth as nedded until the rice is tender. It should take about 30 minutes to have added all 4 cups of broth.
Once it is done cooking you can remove it from the stove and add the lemon juice, Mascarpone and Parmsean cheese. Stir until the cheeses are melted and the risotto is smooth and creamy. Spoon into bowls, top with chives and more Parmsean cheese if desired.

Enjoy!! - Nicole

Linked at: http://www.gooseberrypatch.typepad.com/blog/, http://whipperberry.com/, 

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