Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spring Green Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes. It’s such a wonderful comfort food and so versatile for adding flavors. This Barefoot Bloggers recipe selection is my pick! I loved the idea of a risotto with spring green veggies like asparagus and peas. Risottos are not at all difficult to make but it does require attention in stirring the pot for the rice to develop its creaminess. The mascarpone cheese and lemon mixture in this recipe adds an additional creamy and tangy element. This was delicious!

Spring Green Risotto, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

1 ½ tablespoons good olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped fennel
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
⅔ cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 pound thin asparagus
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 ½ 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
⅓ cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
½ 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 sauté 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 ½-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.


  1. Thanks for chosing this recipe!! I loved it!! I always thought risotto was "too involved" -- I am so glad that I finally made it, I am sure I will be making it again! Your picture is mouth watering!!

  2. Good choice Kimberly. I loved this dish. I served it with my Grilled Herb Shrimp, which is my choice for the next BB Thursday. Your risotto looks beautiful.

  3. Great pick, Kimberly! I really enjoyed this one. Like Penny, I served it with the Grilled Herb Shrimp (on Mother's Day). Thanks for hosting us.


  4. Great pick! I loved this and actually enjoyed the process of cooking it (contrary to what I thought when I read the recipe...risotto seemed like a lot of work). Thank you!

  5. Thanks for this pick - is was a great spring recipe to make!

  6. This was a great choice! Very seasonally appropriate. :)

  7. Hi... we are both members of Friends of Martha Blog Newwork. So I thought I would stop by.

  8. Thank you for choosing this recipe. We really loved it. I just don't love making risotto, but I love eating it! Yours looks great. I will definitely make this one again soon.

  9. Great pick! I had to cut some corners but it was still terrific, in true Ina style.