Fall always sends me looking for some good comfort food. As soon as the weather turns a bit brisk, I’m ready for fall cooking. A few weeks back I started with Ina Garten’s Spring Green Risotto. I know preparing this 'spring' dish in the fall may seem a little late, but it’s just super comforting on a cold day and EVERYONE enjoyed it (even me since it’s gluten-free).
Our family is partial to brown rice so for this dish I traded arborio for brown rice. I stayed very close to the recipe but since I was using brown rice I added all of the liquid at once (rather than cup by cup) and I simmered the dish for the amount of time necessary for the rice to fully cook.
Adding the lemon and cheese at the end is the best part. When the rice and the veggies mix together with the cheese - it’s hard to not start eating it right then and there! I did save a little Parmesan to sprinkle on top but that’s totally preference. The chives and shredded cheese just make it look so pretty. Follow Ina’s lead and pair it with a nice glass of wine for a perfect fall dinner.
I will definitely be making it again because it’s kinda quick and pretty easy - and it’s great leftover too!
Ina Garten's Spring Green Risotto
1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped fennel
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (I used brown rice)
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade (Trader Joe’s is good too)
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 cheese, 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 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 length 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.