Spring Green Risotto
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white & light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped fennel
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock
1 pound thin asparagus
10 oz frozen peas, defrosted
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 chives, plus extra for serving (I skipped these)
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 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. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until 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 followed this recipe with a delicious Buttermilk Pie with fresh berries. Check back for that recipe! Enjoy!