Spring Vegetable Risotto with Asparagus and Peas
The Freds had the most delightful memorial day weekend! We rode in a bike gang of friends to crystal lake for illegal swimming, adventured to the North Shore to explore an old granite quarry, eat our first lobster rolls of the season by the sea, and examine tide pools, attended a barbecue with pisco sours, watermelon gin cocktails and French 75’s (how’s a woman to choose?!), went for lots of long walks, and spent one entire afternoon drinking mohitos and reading books on the porch. As our weekend finale, we made this risotto with the last of spring’s asparagus to cap off the spring and officially move our bellies into the full bounty of summer dinning.
Spring Vegetable Risotto with Asparagus and Peas (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
If you wish to make this vegan, simply replace the butter with olive oil and either leave out the parmesan or replace with a vegan cheese.
1 large bunch asparagus (mine weighed in at one pound, three ounces), tough ends snapped off, spears cut on bias into 1/2-inch thick pieces
1 bunch green onion, white and light green parts thinly sliced – a heaping cup
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup frozen peas
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 ½ ounces grated parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup), plus extra for garnish
1 Tbs. lemon juice, plus additional to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
First, Bring broth and water to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to lowest possible setting to keep broth warm
While your broth is heating, place 1 tablespoon of butter in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. When the butter melts, add your asparagus, a pinch of salt, and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add peas and continue to cook 1 minute. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a plate and set aside.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in your now-empty Dutch oven or medium-large saucepan set over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add your green onions, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until green onions are translucent – 4 to 5 minutes. Then, add your rice and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around the edges, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until fully absorbed, 3-4 minutes.
When the wine is fully absorbed, add 3 cups of your hot broth. Simmer, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry, about 12 minutes. Stir in about 1/2 cup hot broth and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 3-4 minutes; repeat with additional broth 3 or 4 times until rice is al dente.
Once the rice is finished, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining tablespoon butter along with your parmesan and lemon juice. Then gently fold in your cooked asparagus and peas. Taste and add additional lemon juice, salt and pepper if necessary.
Serve immediately, passing additional Parmesan around the table.