May 21, 2012

Creamy Spring Green Risotto

Secret Recipe Club time! It's funny how you start to know many of the foodies in the Club as you participate month after month. When I got my assignment, I already "knew" Kate and her blog, A Spoonful of Thyme. I had tried to eat my way through the computer screen with her Pulled Pork Sandwich. Her husband has the most awesome looking smoker! Serious man grilling.

I eventually chose Kate's Spring Green Risotto since it's fresh and uses all the of the spring veggies I love like peas and asparagus. We eat asparagus all the time. My favorite way is tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and thrown on the grilled for a few moments. The kids are big fans of the little charred bits that happen.

I adore risotto and normally serve it during the colder months. But Kate proved to me risotto could be a warm weather dish with the addition of fresh green veggies. It turned out delicious! My husband declared it restaurant quality and we agreed it should be "on the rotation" just like Kate said.

I made a few changes and rewrote the recipe because it seemed a little confusing to me and I thought it could read simpler. (I'm sure that had something to do with the fact that is a recipe from Ina Garten - just saying.) I did leave out the fennel, because it just didn't look good at the grocery store when I went. I added mushrooms because that's one of my favorite risotto ingredients and I added lima beans to up the protein. You could easily make this a vegetarian recipe by using veggie stock. It may seem like a lot, but it is just one dish and we made it our main meal. I added a couple of pieces of tilapia and some sweet pumpernickle bread and dinner was done.
Spring Green Risotto

1 lb asparagus
5 oz lima beans
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp butter
3 c finely chopped leeks, white and light green parts (1 leek)
8 mushrooms, sliced 
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
2/3 c white wine
4-5 c chicken stock
5 oz frozen peas, defrosted
1 tsp pepper
2 lemons, zest and juice
1/3 c mascarpone cheese or cream cheese 
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese 
3 tbsp chives, minced 

Bring a medium pot with a small amount of water (maybe 3 inches) to a boil. Put ice in a large bowl and add water to make an ice bath. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and give to your very grateful chickens. Then cut the asparagus spears into 1 1/2-inch lengths (on the angle if you want to be fancy).  Put asparagus and lima beans in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Drain and plunge the veggies immediately in the bowl of ice water. Dry your pot over low heat to use for the next step. Drain the vegetables.
Heat the olive oil and butter in the dry pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and mushrooms, cook for 6 mins. Add the rice and stir for 3 more minutes. {There is a lot of stirring coming up, about 25 minutes of it, so if you can rope in a sous chef, this is the time. You really don't have to stir constantly, but you do need to stay with it. It's worth it - really.}

Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. Immediately after adding the last cup of stock, add the asparagus, lima beans, peas, and pepper. Zest both lemons right into the pot.

Squeeze the lemon juice from both lemons into a small bowl, add the mascarpone. Whisk together with a fork.

After a total of about 25 minutes of cooking and stirring the risotto, all the liquid should be absorbed. Then you are ready for the next step. Turn off the heat and add the mascarpone-lemon mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives.

Serve with an additional garnish of Parmesan cheese and chives if you want to fancy it up.


  1. I am so happy that you liked the Spring Risotto! It is one of our favorites. I appreciate your kind words. Great idea to switch out some ingredients.

  2. We love risotto and have been wanting to try a spring veggie version like this!

  3. Risotto, oh yeah baby and with all the lovely greens (except the limas...blech... that's just me though). I think I could have risotto everyday and not get sick of it.

  4. Mmmmmmm, Aimee! This risotto looks amazing. I'm so glad that I got your blog this month and got to make your amazing peanut butter, bacon, and apple sandwiches. So happy to meet you in person! Can't wait to get to know you even better without having to stealth around anymore!

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

  5. I love the changes you made and the addition of lima beans - so smart!

  6. This looks amazing, and so good!

  7. Great job! Risotto is tough work!

  8. Gosh I love Risotto. This would make a great Lent recipe. Thanks for sharing with us.

  9. I love risotto!! This recipe sounds great! (:

  10. I have never made risotto--I don't know why. This looks delicious--something I must try. Great SRC pick!

  11. Aimee,
    I really don't think it is necessary to broil the meat. It does give it a carmelized look and taste, but I tasted it before I put it under the broiler, and it was just as delicious. As a matter of fact, I had a tortilla with fresh sauteed peppers and onions about three days after I made this, but I heated the leftover pork in the microwave, and it was soooo good. It melted in my mouth. I hate to heat up the kitchen when it's hot also. I try to do it in the morning if I have to. Thanks for all your nice words.

  12. I love this risotto dish, it is perfect for summer indeed :)

  13. I just love all the young green veggies this time of year. Such a great way to use them...I mean who doesn't love risotto!

  14. The photo is gorgeous! My parents in-law are in town and
    I am inspired to make a summery risotto now for dinner. Yum.

  15. Oh! Yumm! I didn't know that I could like risotto even more but then you brought out the marscapone C:

  16. Yum! I have only made risotto once and it was so good.


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