Recipe: Risotto Primavera with Asparagus and Green Peas

This laughably easy risotto recipe is adapted from of my favorite new cookbook: Mollie Katzen’s The Heart of the Plate. It’s delicious, inexpensive, and you can get it on the table in around 30 minutes.

[PS: If you’re interested in more risotto recipes, be sure to check out Casual Kitchen’s Great Risotto Blogroll!]

Risotto Primavera with Asparagus and Green Peas
[Slightly modified and simplified from The Heart of the Plate]

1 Tablespoon butter
About 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-½ inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups frozen green peas
¼ teaspoon salt

5-6 cups mild stock (vegetable, chicken or beef) OR 1 buillon cube with 5-6 cups water.
1 Tablespoon butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 ½ cups rice (purists require a risotto-style rice like Arborio: we used regular rice)
½ cup white wine
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Fresh ground black pepper

1) Bring the stock/bouillion to a simmer in a medium-sized pot. While stock/bouillon is heating up, melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the asparagus and garlic, cover, and partially cook for 1-2 minutes. Don’t overcook! Then, add the frozen peas (it’s okay if they’re right out of the freezer), re-cover, and cook for just 1-2 minutes more. Remove vegetables from the pan, cover them, and set aside.

2) Using the large saucepan you just cooked the vegetables in, add another 1 Tablespoon butter and the finely chopped onion, and saute on medium heat for 5 minutes or so, until onion softens.

3) Add the rice and stir until coated. Then, add the wine. Continue to stir until the wine is absorbed, about a minute or two. Then slowly ladle in the simmering stock, one ladle-full at a time, stirring frequently. Continue gradually adding the stock until the rice is creamy and al dente, about 18-20 minutes.

4) Turn off heat. Add the parmesan cheese and the vegetables, and gently combine everything well. Season with fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Serves 4 generously as an entree.

Recipe notes:
1) We used an extremely mild bouillon-based stock of just one chicken bouillon cube in about 5-½ cups of water. The risotto came out perfect: not too salty-sodiumy, with a mild and delicious flavor that complemented, rather than overwhelmed, the vegetables. This is a convenient shortcut if you don’t happen to have homemade (or worse, store-bought) stock handy.

2) Feel free to include other vegetables! My girl Mollie suggests using snap peas, snow peas or even fava beans. For an optional garnish, consider adding fresh mint leaves or a few strips of lemon zest. Enjoy!

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