With Spring in the air, I am giddy with the possibilities of new Spring Veggies. The 60 degree weather we've been having is teasing me, I know it. But, this is a great recipe to use all the fresh vegetables hitting stores and farm stands soon.
Risotto always seemed intimidating to me, but once I tried it, I realized it was not only easy, but versatile. In the fall, take out the peas and asparagus and add roasted butternut squash. Or love mushrooms? Saute your favorite varieties and add those at the very end.
Disclaimer: Risotto usually uses white wine in the recipe, but since I don't partake, I created a recipe sans any alcohol. If you do happen to like wine, after you add the Arborio rice, add 1 cup of dry white wine.
2 T olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 cups arborio rice
6-8 cups chicken broth or stock
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
1/2 c grated Parmesan
1 1/2 t salt (I prefer Kosher)
1/2 t pepper
In a large sauce pan, heat the chicken broth to just simmering. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and saute shallots till translucent (about 5 minutes). Add arborio rice to saute pan and stir to cover rice with the oil/onion mixture. Once coated, add two ladles-full of broth at a time, stirring continuously. Add salt and pepper. Once all the broth has been absorbed, add another two ladles-full. While rice is cooking, cut the woody ends off the asparagus and throw away. Cut the remaining asparagus into three sections. It will need to be blanched briefly, and instead of dirtying another pan, I cook it for 3 minutes in the simmering broth. Continue adding two ladles-full of broth as soon as the previous broth is absorbed until all the broth is gone. Check doneness of risotto after 6 cups of broth are used, but may have to use up to 8 cups. Risotto is done when al dente, like pasta. When you add the last of the broth, add your frozen peas, Parmesan and asparagus. The heat from the risotto will cook the peas immediately. Serve hot. Serves 6-8. You can half the recipe for 4-6 people.