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Spring Green Risotto

It’s really ridiculous my fascination that I have with the Barefoot Contessa.  Ask my partner.  The DVR in our bedroom is 94% full of Barefoot Contessa episodes that I watch every free moment that I have and want to make at least one thing from every episode.  This is a recipe that I saw one afternoon while watching Ina with my daughter.  I’ve only tried cooking risotto once before and it came out pretty good.  It was a wild mushroom risotto that I took to a family Christmas dinner.

Spring Green Risotto

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

Directions

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender.

Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter.

Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed.

Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl.

When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives.

Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

*I left out the fennel because I don’t like it and used vegetable stock instead of chicken.  O.M.G.  This was seriously one of the BEST things I have EVER tasted.  My kids were turning up their noses as I was making it and my daughter flat out said she wouldn’t eat it when I told her what was for dinner.  They all had seconds.  I can’t sing it’s praises enough.  I give it 5 out of 4 stars.  It was sooo amazing.  And I give it a moderate on the difficulty scale.  It’s really not hard, just takes time to let the stock absorb into the rice.  I very highly recommend this recipe!!

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