Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What's to Eat? Wednesday: Spring Green Risotto

***Edited to Add: Sorry for some reason Mr. Linky was on from last week not this's hopefully fixed now!**

Welcome to What's to Eat? Wednesday! Around here, Wednesday is all about food so if you want to join in just put your site in Mr. Linky below so we can read all about it. Do you need topic ideas? Try these…favorite/worst recipes, kitchen disasters, restaurant experiences, kitchen gadgets, food memories, or dinner parties….really anything about or related to food goes here!

Spring Green Risotto

One of the best things about being unemployed is the time you have to do the things you enjoy. One of the things I most enjoy is obviously cooking. I have been wanting to try a risotto recipe, but just never had the time to do it. They always make them sound so delicious on T.V.! I of course turned to one of my trusty sources, Ina Garten. I think I have about 30 of her episodes on the DVR right now so, be prepared to see more of her recipes around here.


  • 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


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. Makes 6 servings.

Yum! It was absolutely delicious! I did make a couple minor changes though. First, I substituted 1jar of marinated artichokes for the fennel because I dislike it's licorice taste. Then I substituted 16oz. of frozen asparagus for the fresh which is what Ina did on her show as well. I just threw it all in frozen, no defrosting.

Mine ended up taking a lot longer than she said it would, but I think it was my fault. I wasn't familiar with what exactly it was supposed to look like and assumed it would be a little less liquidy than it actually was due to the rice releasing it's starchiness. This recipe was also my first experience with leeks and let me tell you - they are a keeper! Basically just a mild onion flavor for those of you who also haven't tried them. I did have to google how to prepare them lol. Anyways - try this recipe. It's awesome!


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