Risotto is one of those dishes that is often overlooked as a side dish, but really deserves to stand alone as a main. Originating from Northern Italy, risotto boasts a creamy texture derived from simmering Arborio rice in some sort of broth while continuously stirring. In honor of the changing seasons, I decided to whip up a veggie-filled, vegetarian version of this classic dish, using mint, lemon and fennel to bring a light and clean flavor.
VEGETARIAN RISOTTO RECIPE
(Serves 4-6; Total Time: 40 minutes)
- 6 cups of vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fennel
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 12 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1.5 cups frozen peas
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/4 cup mint
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest, 2 tbs lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan, bring your stock to a simmer.
- In a food processor, puree 1/2 cup of the peas, mint, and parsley. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and fennel for about 5 minutes.
- Add the Arborio rice and ‘toast’ for about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the wine. Cook until evaporated.
- Begin adding stock, and wait until it’s almost fully evaporated, 1/2 a cup at a time, constantly stirring.
- After you’ve added most of the stock but not all (you should have about 1 cup left) add the asparagus with 1/2 cup more of stock. Stir for one minute and then add the rest of the whole peas and the pureed mixture to the rice as well as the rest of the stock.
- The risotto is done when the rice is slightly al dente. Remove from the heat and stir in zest, juice, and Parmesan.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
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