I adore risotto and normally serve it during the colder months. But this recipe proves risotto can be a warm weather dish with the addition of fresh green veggies. It turned out delicious! My husband declared it restaurant quality.
You could easily make this a vegetarian recipe by using veggie stock. It may seem like a lot, but it is just one dish and we made it our main meal. I added a couple of pieces of tilapia and some sweet pumpernickel bread and dinner was done.
Spring Green Risotto
1 lb asparagus
5 oz lima beans
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp butter
3 c finely chopped leeks, white and light green parts (1 leek)
8 mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
2/3 c white wine
4-5 c chicken stock
5 oz frozen peas, defrosted
1 tsp pepper
2 lemons, zest and juice
1/3 c mascarpone
cheese or cream cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp chives, minced
Bring a medium pot with a small amount of water (maybe 3 inches) to a boil. Put ice in a large bowl and add water to make an ice bath. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and give to your very grateful chickens. Then cut the asparagus spears into 1 1/2-inch lengths (on the angle, if you want to be fancy). Put asparagus and lima beans in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Drain and plunge the veggies immediately in the bowl of ice water. Dry your pot over low heat to use for the next step. Drain the vegetables.
Heat the olive oil and butter in the dry pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and mushrooms, cook for 6 mins. Add the rice and stir for 3 more minutes. (There is a lot of stirring coming up, about 25 minutes of it, so if you can rope in a sous chef, this is the time. You really don't have to stir constantly, but you do need to stay with it. It's worth it - really.)
Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. Immediately after adding the last cup of stock, add the asparagus, lima beans, peas, and pepper. Zest both lemons right into the pot.
Squeeze the lemon juice from both lemons into a small bowl, add the mascarpone. Whisk together with a fork.
After a total of about 25 minutes of cooking and stirring the risotto, all the liquid should be absorbed. Then you are ready for the next step. Turn off the heat and add the mascarpone-lemon mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives.
Serve with an additional garnish of Parmesan cheese and chives if you want to fancy it up.