This is a great Spring Risotto. Even though it really isn’t Spring, we pretended tonight and made the risotto anyway. I like this risotto because of its creaminess and that it is fairly easy to make even though it is a risotto and requires some stirring. The marscarpone cheese and fennel make for a unique taste. The recipe is adapted from one I found from Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa fame. Ina seems to really like citrus and related zests. Me, not so much. I have taken the zest completely out and the citrus juices down. I also cook it until it is a little more creamy (wet) than what is called for in the recipe. I tend to not like a dryer risotto, so just don’t add as much chicken stock if you would prefer it more dry.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts
- 1 cup chopped fennel
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock
- 1 pound thin asparagus
- 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 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 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, 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.
We love to cook and we will be sharing more recipes over time. Tell us what you like to cook?