Sometimes, we need to be reminded to be grateful for the little things. Friendships, families, health, our jobs, these are all things that I easily forget are luxuries in the grander scheme of life. This weekend was full of reminders for me as I spent it celebrating both being engaged to my best friend and passing the Texas bar exam. The kindness of the hosts and hostesses who threw our engagement party just blew me away. I am humbled by my blessings and look forward to my future wearing two new hats — a lawyer and a wife.
In the spirit of gratitude, I prepared a cozy dinner for my fiance and myself to enjoy after the festivities had subsided. This spring green risotto is a fitting way to give thanks as it requires lots of time, patience, and attention. You cannot wander away from the stove for a second while it is simmering, but the end reult is perfect. A “risotto” is arborio rice that is slow-cooked in broth, so that it becomes creamy and smooth after aborbing the moisture over time. This recipe produces a creamy, lemony, fresh risotto that has layers of flavors and textures. It uses the freshest springtime ingredients, which saves you money and reminds you to enjoy the fruits of the season that we are in. The marscapone cheese is an ingredient that I have hardly used before, but will certainly return to it again. What a nice, cheesy touch it adds to this risotto.
This recipe is originally by Ina Garten and can be found here. I modified the recipe very little. Here is how I prepared this amazing spring green risotto:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 shallot, diced
- 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 pound thin asparagus
- 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 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
- 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Heat the olive oil, shallot, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the leeks 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 1 cup of stock and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir the rice constantly while the liquid aborbs and you continue adding more as needed. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes. If the pot starts to smoke, you should add more liquid or turn the heat down as you continue to stir.
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.
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. I added the juice of one lemon for extra zest. 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.
I baked some hot italian chicken sausage to add protein and spice to our dinner. Jason and I paused for a moment on our busy Sunday evening to eat a meal together before conquering our separate “to-do” lists for the night. This recipe is so refreshing and fun to make. You will stir away your worries and your taste buds will be saying THANK YOU after the first bite. I hope you enjoy this amazing recipe!
Lots of love,