Friday, April 4, 2008

Spring Risotto: Risotto with Asparagus, Peas, Parsley, and Lemon

When my mom visits me (which she is currently doing), I love to cook meals for her that she would normally never make for herself. Being that it is supposedly spring (it was 50 degrees in Baltimore on Thursday despite the fact that it was 75 degrees on Tuesday…what is going on???), I decided to make a spring risotto.

I had bought a few pounds of asparagus a few days ago in a fit of spring fever, so some of it was definitely going into the risotto. (I bought way more asparagus than I needed for the meal I made a few days ago…sometimes I get carried away.) To further springify the risotto, I added a few things that I always have on hand but are springy nonetheless: peas, parsley, and lemon. Oh, and sauvignon blanc. There’s always New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in my fridge; I have a slight (read: major) obsession with it.

20 minutes and a little bit of stirring later (yes, just a little – risotto isn’t as fickle and stir-crazy as it’s made out to be), I presented my mom with a plate of risotto studded with spring’s verdant offerings. Mommy scarfed it down pretty quickly; I think that means that she liked it.

Spring Risotto: Risotto with
Asparagus, Peas, Parsley, and Lemon

(serves 2)

2 ½ cups vegetable broth
6 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided into thirds
1 medium onion, finely chopped (a little more than 1 cup)
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
¾ cup Arborio rice (I prefer Vialone Nano)
½ cup dry white wine (I used what we were having with dinner – Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, which is my current favorite Sauvignon Blanc)
½ pound asparagus
1 teaspoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese


Put the vegetable broth in a small covered saucepan and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down as low as it will go and keep the pot covered.

Melt 4 teaspoons of the butter in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion, salt, and pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the rice and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine and cook until almost all the wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Add ½ cup of the hot vegetable broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the broth has been absorbed – this will take about 3 minutes. Repeat this process until the risotto is slightly al dente. [Note: you may not need to use all of the broth – sometimes I only need 2 ¼ cups, sometimes I use the entire 2 ½ cups.]

While the risotto is cooking, prepare the asparagus. Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus and discard them. Cut the stalks into 1” pieces (I like to do this on the diagonal). Put the asparagus into a microwave-safe bowl and add the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Stir well and cover the bowl with wax paper or a microwave-safe plate. Cook the asparagus on high power for 2 ½ minutes, stirring halfway through. Transfer the asparagus to a plate and add the peas to the bowl. Microwave the peas uncovered on high power for 30-40 seconds until they are just defrosted.

Combine the lemon zest and parsley in a small bowl and set the mixture aside.

When the risotto is done, remove the pot from the heat and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of butter. Stir well until the butter is melted and evenly distributed. Add the asparagus, peas, and lemon juice and stir to combine.

Divide the risotto evenly among two plates. Top each plate with half of the grated cheese and half of the parsley-lemon mixture. Serve immediately.


Kathy aka the Minx said...

That's beautiful! My risotto never looks that creamy - is it the butter added at the end that does it?

cassie said...

This looks amazing! I bought a lot of asparagus at the Union Square market on Saturday but I didn't know what to do with all of it. I will definitely be making this.

Anonymous said...

I made this last night. Loved it! It was easy and delicious.

jenna said...

Looks delicious! What a great photograph, too.

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