I've been anxious to start cooking with Spring ingredients despite the weather in New York not getting the memo about the change in season. I compromised by making a risotto filled with seasonal ingredients like leeks, peas, lemon and fresh herbs. Risotto is one of those dishes that is so warm and comforting, but by including lots of fresh veggies and lemon juice to cut through some of the richness, it didn't feel too heavy. I also figured it was one of the last times I would want to stand over a hot stove for any extended period of time now that it is (slowly) starting to warm up.
You can be creative with the veggies you use - artichoke hearts would have also been great. I love using leeks in this recipe though since the flavor is a little more mellow than onions, and because they are in season, of course.
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs butter
- 2 leeks
- 3.5 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup frozen peas (defrosted)
- 1 cup white wine (something you will want to drink)
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 of a lemon, juice and zest
- 2 Tbs chopped parsley
- Wash the leeks and chop the white & light green parts.
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saute pan until hot, add the leeks and a generous sprinkling of salt.
- Sautee for about 5 minutes, then add the arborio rice and cook for 2 minutes, making sure all the rice is coated. Meanwhile, warm the chicken broth until hot but not boiling in a separate pot.
- Add the wine to the rice and cook on high heat, stirring regularly, until it is almost evaporated.
- Begin adding the warmed chicken broth one ladle at a time. Stir each ladle continuously over medium-high heat until almost absorbed. Add another ladle and repeat until all the chicken broth is gone and the rice is tender. You want the consistency to be thick but not too thick - it should easily fall of the spoon and still be a little lose. Season generously with salt & pepper to taste.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the peas, lemon juice, zest and Parmesan.
- Once all the cheese is incorporated, add the parsley, reserving some to top each plate, along with some extra Parmesan (because there is no such thing as too much cheese).
Enjoy! Also, while this makes about four servings, it can be refrigerated and then brought back to life on the stove later but heating with a little more chicken broth and cheese.