I’m so behind with this blog it’s not even funny!
I have a ton of recipes lined up… and now I have to search through my thousands of archives of pictures to find them!! This recipe for Spring Green Risotto was chosen as one of the May recipes by Kimberly from Indulge and Enjoy. I have to say I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of risotto… I had only had it once at a very nice restaurant in England… however it was so bland I had to dump practically an entire container of salt on it! I should have known better… because honestly at this point I think we all know Ina doesn’t make things that don’t taste good!! That said, I did have to modify this recipe a bit… while I’m sure that the mascarpone is delish… it had like an INSANE amount of calories and fat and since I was just cooking this for the 3 of us and not any guests I took the liberty of slimming it down. I’ve posted my modifications in green. And I just have to say that even with my hip slimming modifications this dish was amazing! Creamy, flavorful, and just yummy yummy!! I made it with lemon garlic grilled chicken cutlets… it was fab!!! Enjoy!!!
Spring Green Risotto
Source: Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
Serves: 4 servings for dinner (if you are feeding linebackers) or 6 for appetizers (normal people size :) )
- 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil * I cut this down to 1 tablespoon and used olive oil cooking spray as needed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter * I cut this out completely
- 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 * I used the one in a box… I think it was College Inn??
- 1 pound thin asparagus
- 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas * ((SHUDDER)) I hate peas… so I used fresh string beans and cut them in half
- 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 * I used fat free cream cheese… it was delish!
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving
How to pull it all together:
- Heat the olive oil and butter (I used the 1 tablespoon olive oil and cooking spray) 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.) ( I blanched the string beans same as the asparagus)
- When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas (string beans), 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 (fat free cream cheese) together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone (cheese) 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.