Thursday, May 13, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers - Spring Green Risotto

I feel like the only recipes I've posted lately have been of the sweet variety so I was thrilled when this month's BB selections were announced and both were savory.  I was even more thrilled when one of them happened to be risotto.  Ina knows risotto.  This one might be my favorite.......slightly crunchy veggies, tangy lemon and creamy mascarpone.  Nom, nom, nom.

I get asked a lot about making risotto by people who seem to be really intimidated by it.  It's really not hard, but it does take a little bit of time and your full attention.  My best piece of advice for full proof risotto is good preparation.  Have all your ingredients chopped, measured and ready to go before you start cooking.  Actually this is good advice for all recipes, but it's really important for this.  If you've got what the professionals call mise en place, everything in its place, then you can devote all of your attention to the slow addition of the liquid and the stirring.  Which is how you get creamy risotto.  And happy eaters.

Thanks to Kimberly of Indulge and Enjoy for a perfect Spring choice.  Here's the recipe.

Spring Green Risotto
2008, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics


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.

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