I love a good risotto. It's one of my favorite dishes whether it's a side or a main course. I also love how at the end of a long day, I can stand at the stove with a glass of wine and stir, and after a few minutes, magic happens. It's glorious, I tell you!
I paired this with the spring soup I made a few days ago. They hold many of the same vegetables, and they worked well together. I'd eat this any day, but enjoying it as a springtime dinner when asparagus & leeks are at their peak freshness was a real treat.
Spring Green Risotto
(Adapted from Ina Garten)
5 c. chicken stock (or vegetable, if you prefer)
2 T. olive oil, eyeball it
2 T. unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
2 leeks (white and green parts), chopped
1 1/2 c. Arborio rice
1 c. dry white wine (I like Savignon Blanc)
1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces & tough ends discarded
10 oz. frozen peas
1 T. grated lemon zest
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 T. lemon juice
1/3 c. mascarpone cheese
Parmesan, grated, for serving
3 T. fresh or dried chives
In a medium saucepan, heat stock until simmering. Reduce heat to medium-low.
In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium-low. Add shallots and leeks to pan, sauteing until tender (about 5 minutes). Add rice to pan, and stirring constantly, coat rice with oil (cook about 1 minute). Add wine to pan and stir constantly until wine has been mostly absorbed. Add chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring frequently until liquid has been mostly absorbed. Continue until all stock has been added to the pan.
When last ladle of stock has been absorbed, add asparagus to the pan, stirring frequently until crisp-tender. Stir in peas & lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, and taste for seasonings. When risotto is finished, stir in lemon juice, mascarpone, parmesan, if using, and chives. Stir until cheeses are melted and the risotto has reached a nice creaminess.
- Cream cheese is a fine substitute if you can't find mascarpone or it's too expensive. I was going to skip it and use cream cheese, but I lucked out and found a coupon.
- Golden Gate is a cheap brand of wine that's good for cookin' and fine for drinkin'. Every time I find it at Jewel it's on sale for around $4.
- If you can't find shallots, you can sub in half an onion just fine. I like the gentleness of the shallots because the leeks are pretty powerful on their own, but onion & risotto work together quite well.
- This was too lemony for Graham, so if you're afraid of lemon skip the juice. The lemon zest will add a nice hint of lemon.
- Cleaning leeks is ridiculous. They grow in sand, so you need to remove all the grit before you can eat them.