Friday, January 7, 2011

Spring Green Risotto

Yes, worth making again. It takes a bit of patience and effort to keep stirring the rice until it absorbs the broth but at the end it is a very flavorful dish. It was my first time to use mascarpone cheese and I really liked it. But as the recipe notes, cream cheese is a fine substitute.

Serves 4
5 cups chicken broth
1½ tbsp. olive oil
1½ tbsp. unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
2 green onions, white and green parts
1½ cups Arborio rice (medium grain rice)
10 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces and tough ends discarded
1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese (cream cheese is a fine substitute)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2 tbsp. minced fresh chives

In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken broth or stock over medium heat until simmering.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, keeping the stock warm.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat until the butter is melted.  Add the shallots and leeks to the pot and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until tender.

Add the rice to the pot and stir to coat well with the oil and butter, cooking for about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more.

Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water to stop cooking.

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, add the asparagus and peas to the risotto.  Stir in the lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.  The entire process should take about 25-30 minutes.

When the risotto is done, remove the pan from the heat.  Mix in the lemon juice, mascarpone, Parmesan and chives.  Stir until the cheeses are melted in and the risotto is creamy.  Serve immediately with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten
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