Friday, May 8, 2009

Spring Vegetable Risotto

If you like risotto, you will love this spring vegetable variation. The vegetables are sauteed slightly and taken off the heat while the risotto is cooking. Then the vegetables are folded into the risotto as the final step, so the end result is a creamy, delicious risotto with crisp-tender vegetables. A perfect combination.


Gremolata (that's a fancy word for an herby garnish)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced, stems reserved
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced, stems reserved
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated

1 pound asparagus, touch ends snapped off and reserved, spears cut on bias into 1/2-inch thick pieces
2 medium leeks, white and green parts halved lengthwise, washed, and sliced think (about 4 cups), 2 cups roughly chopped greens reserved
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon


1. For the Gremolata: Combine ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

2. For the Risotto: Chop tough asparagus ends and leek greens into rough 1/2-inch pieces. Bring chopped vegetables, reserved parsley and mint stems, broth, and water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer 20 minutes.

3. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Return strained broth to saucepan; cover and set over low heat to keep broth warm. (Note from Holli: The broth is not needed until step 8--I worked on multiple steps simultaneously and my broth was done exactly when I needed to add it to the rice so I did not keep it over heat.)

4. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add asparagus spears, pinch of salt, and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is crisp-tender, 4-6 minutes. Add peas and continue to cook 1 minutes. Transfer vegetables to plate; set aside.

5. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add leeks, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened, 4-5 minutes.

6. Add rice to leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around edges, about 3 minutes.

7. Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until fully absorbed, 2-3 minutes.

8. When wine is fully absorbed, add 3 cups hot broth to rice. Simmer, stirring every 3-4 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and bottom of pan is almost dry, about 12 minutes. Check out the next several pictures, each taken 3 minutes apart, which show the a progression of the rice simmering and the liquid absorbing.

9. Stir in about 1/2 cup of hot broth and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 3 minutes; repeat with additional broth 3-4 times until rice is al dente.

10. Off heat, stir in remaining tablespoon of butter, Parmesan, and lemon juice.

11. Gently fold in asparagus and peas. If desired, add up to 1/4 cup hot broth to loosen texture of risotto.

12. Serve immediately, sprinkling each serving with gremolata and passing Parmesan separately.

No comments: