28 March 2008

Spring has Sprung Risotto

Spring has Sprung
It is Spring in Canada. I have been boasting of our beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures (considering my family all live back East and are still digging out from under the snowbanks). It is sometimes nice to gloat....and then...disaster strikes and we get a small but significant snow squall. Mind you the storm lasted about 15 minutes and the snow, although it did accumulate, was gone in another 5 minutes...but as I said "IT IS SPRING IN CANADA." The good thing is that the snow squall happened while I was at work..so no harm done. At lunch I went for my usual walk and the sun was shining, the forsythia were in bloom...the birds were singing...you get the picture.

I am told that the cherry blossoms are blooming in the south Okanagan and the golf courses, of which we have over 70, are open...so as I already mentioned Spring has Sprung in Canada!!!!

Asparagus and peas abound in the markets, but, they are not locally grown...at least not yet. To get myself in the Spring-time mood I whipped up this delicious and creamy risotto. You can serve it to 4 for a nice light meal or 6 as an appetizer. This is my favourite "go to" risotto recipe with it's delicate lemon flavour. It reminds me of avgolomeno the quintessential Greek dish....no wonder it is my favourite!!!

I haven't been eating much at home this week so excuse my lack of posts. I could post about Kraft Dinner...but the masses would revolt...wink...wink...I have been celebrating friends birthdays and cheering friends up and eating wonderful foods out there in the valley. I am a Valley-Girl after all :D

**Spring has Sprung 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 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 pound asparagus tips
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup Italian mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add rice and stir for a minute to coat with the oil and butter. Add white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the stock, two ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. The whole cooking process will take 25 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, discard the tough ends of the asparagus and cut the tips diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until tender. Drain and cool immediately in ice water.

3. When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

4. 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. Allow to sit off the heat for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.
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  1. Oh Val! I love Rice in all ways!!!! I wanted to post a risotto myself but still haven't found the moment.
    Yours looks absolutely springfull and delicious!!!
    Spring is behaving funny here too, but that's the way it is, right? We had some very cold days lately... but weather man said that the weekend will be sunny again :D

  2. I am thrilled you are into your season of spring! And your photo surely proves it! I like risotto served in a bowl like you have with a glass of wine and a salad. Dinner is served! Yours looks so great and creamy, YUM!
    And that photo of the eggplants, TOO CUTE! I just love how folks get so creative with veggies!
    Enjoy your spring weekend Val:)

  3. The arrival of spring must be celebrated and a nice risotto is great way to do it.

  4. I love risotto and this version sounds mighty fine. We got snow here in Ontario again last night, but at least the sun is shining today. I'm starting to think we won't be seeing spring this year!

  5. I haven't tried making risotto yet. I'm waiting for Spring to be permanently here. Winter is still fighting spring. :(

  6. Val,I've never made risotto before.....you have put up this recipe at the right time..

  7. Hooray for Spring and Hydrangea blossoms! Your risotto looks (and sounds so delicious! I think I will have to bookmark it!

  8. I like the name! This risotto sounds great too! :)

  9. It is nearly midnight and you're making me drooling. Risotto with mascarpone, not to mention the rest. This must be divine.

  10. sounds like my kind of risotto! love it!!

    it is technically spring here in ohio too, it just doesn't feel like it!

  11. Yes I agree with Ivy! The mascarpone would be so luxurious in this! Your enthusiasm for spring is so infectious Val!

  12. Nice ingredients, Valli. It sounds delicious with the mascarpone :)

  13. I can't believe that not one single American has asked you what Kraft Dinner is???!!! My husband thought that was the funniest thing!

    The risotto looks amazing!

  14. For me, I know Spring is here when my patch of chives has grown back in.

    The risotto is sooo creamy but look, you have Mascarpone in it...decadent Val!

  15. There is still some snow on the ground here in Toronto... This asparagus, pea and lemon risotto does sound like spring. I can't wait.

  16. Spring has definitely sprung here too! I was also thinking of risotto this week. Yours looks lovely!

  17. mmmGRRrr.

    Mutter, mutter.

    I have to say I find it kind of painful to read your blog these days as we are still up to our eyebrows in the dreaded white stuff out here, and I don't mean risotto. I'd like to be up to my eyebrows in that risotto!

  18. I love the delicate onion flavour that green onions give and I can just imagine how well they work in this dish.

  19. Truly Nuria this has become my favourite risotto...several people have asked me to marry them over this:D
    I had a lovely bottle of Jackson Triggs Sauvignon Blanc with my ristto Deb:D
    I agree Simona:D
    Mom & Sad went up skiing to Collingwood yesterday Lisa:There are so many delicious recipes for risott out there Ninja. N33ma. Mary & Hillary:D
    It was to die for "sis" Ivy:D
    Spring is coming Java girl and Peter G:D
    It is my fave Maryann.
    Judy I didn't know they called it something else in the States...I thought it was Kraft Dinner everywhere?????...wink...wink...
    Spring has really settled in Peter when the almond trees are blossoming:D
    Give it a try Kevin:D , Cynthia and Recipe Girl.
    I am sorry to cause you any pain Ferdzy:D

  20. Mascarpone? Okay, I'm in! ;)

    I'm so glad you're finally getting some Springtime up there. Your risotto is the perfect welcome for it!

  21. Wait...did you say spring has sprung in Canada? Or did I imagine that?

    I love risotto. This is the perfect dish for this time of year.

  22. Risotto, has to be one of my favourite dishes- perhaps, it's because my husband is the one cooking it!

    Let's hope the sun shines soon again and stays that way.

  23. Ooooooh Yummy!!! That risotto looks absolutely delicious! And YAY for spring! I can't wait for summer...impatient girl that I am. lol

  24. I've never tried using mascarpone in place of butter to cream the risotto at the end. It sounds asolutely delicius -- and I love the first asparagus risotto of spring.

  25. What a gorgeous risotto!

  26. I love risotto and yours is beautiful. You have a great blog, thanks for the post!

  27. I do love spring vegetables... Ours are just starting to arrive as well. And they have such a short season we tend to really 'pig-out'.
    Of course, anything in risotto....
    Lovely pic!


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