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Worth the wait! Spring vegetable an easy addition to finicky risotto

By the Editors of Relish Magazine
Worth the wait! Spring vegetable an easy addition to finicky risotto
(Photo: Photo by Mark Boughton Photography/styling by Teresa Blackburn)

Making a pot of risotto requires practically all of your attention, but the effort and time are worth it. In addition to keeping the broth at a bare simmer, the rice needs almost nonstop stirring. At the beginning, all there is to see are firm grains of rice simmering in broth. But as the cooking continues and more broth is added, the rice swells and the mixture develops the creaminess that defines risotto.

Restaurant cooks, who don’t have the kind of time it takes to make risotto in a single step, have devised ways to do some of the prep ahead. Home cooks generally make risotto from start to finish without leaving the stove and serve it as soon as it comes off the heat. In Italy, risotto, like pasta, is eaten as the first course as part of a meal that has several courses, but you and your family and guests will have no trouble sitting down to a big plate of risotto and calling it supper. It’s that good.

Risotto with Spring Vegetables

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup minced onion or shallots
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2⁄3 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, heated
  • 1½ cups fresh green peas, asparagus tips, arugula or spinach leaves.
  • ¼ cup light cream, heated
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Lemon wedges
  1. Heat butter in a large saucepan. Add onion; cook 3 minutes. Stir in rice and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes.

  2. Add wine and salt; cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking and stirring, adding 1/2 cup broth at a time and making sure most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more. With the second to last addition of broth, add peas. (Total cooking time is about 20 minutes.) After all broth has been added, stir in cream and cheese. Serves with lemon wedges on the side. Serves 4.

Note: If you have leftovers, make risotto cakes: Form patties using about 1/4 cup leftover risotto per patty. Liberally sprinkle both sides with flour. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add patties and cook on both sides until crispy. As a variation, you can add a bit of shredded basil or crumbled feta cheese to the leftover risotto before forming patties.