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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ina's Spring Green Risotto


The arrival of spring has brought so many striking greens (especially the asparagus) to the produce section at the store! I wanted a recipe that I could use a bunch of them in and remembered that Ina had a risotto recipe- perfect!
Risotto is one of my very favorite dishes, and it had been quite a while since I last made any (see here and here); I decided that this Spring Green Risotto was the best way to let the greens I wanted to use shine at the peak of their season.
This risotto was pure heaven. In fact, it may just be the best risotto I have ever made! The mascarpone made it so creamy and rich, but with the abundance of asparagus, leeks, peas, and fennel, the dish was still fresh and vibrant. I loved the slight licorice flavor that the fennel brought in paired with the sweet peas, and the lemon added a wonderful brightness to the dish.
Also, I just want to stress that you absolutely must use a good parmesan cheese (parmigiano reggiano) in the risotto; it makes a night and day difference. 
I served my risotto as a main course, but I imagine that some Lemon Roasted Chicken would be sublime with it.


Ina's Spring Green Risotto
recipe from here
serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side

  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 2 leeks, chopped, white and light green parts only
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cups Sauvignon Blanc (or other dry white wine)
  • 4-6 cups chicken stock, simmering
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, cut at a diagonal
  • 10 ounces fresh or frozen peas
  • freshly grated lemon zest, from 2 lemons
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1/2 a juicy lemon
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 3 tbsp fresh chives, minced
  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add in the rice and stir for a minute to coat. Ad in the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly until most of the wine is absorbed.
  3. Add the chicken stock 2 ladles at a time, stirring constantly. Wait for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This will take probably 25-35 minutes.
  4. While cooking the risotto, blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes. Drain and immediately run under cold water.
  5. When the risotto has been cooking for about 15 minutes, add in the asparagus, peas, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock until rice is tender but still has a bite to it.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone and lemon juice.
  7. When the risotto is done, remove from heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture, parmigiano reggiano, and chives.
  8. Serve immediately and garnish with additional chives and parmigiano reggiano if desired.


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