It’s spring! That means it’s asparagus season. It’s the time of the year when you can buy gorgeous thin stalked asparagus without paying a small fortune, though I have to say, for organic, it was till quite high. One of my favorite ways to use asparagus is in this Risotto with spring vegetables, from Eating Well magazine. I’m posting it exactly as it appears on the website, but it’s a very easy recipe to modify and make your own.
I didn’t have any baby carrots, so I used regular carrots, made into largish matchstick size. I also didn’t have any sugar snap peas, so I used frozen peas instead. I’ve made this before and it is definitely better with the snap peas. The snap peas had a crisp sweetness that was lacking in the frozen peas. It was still good, but I really recommend the snap peas. What I love about this dish is that it is spring-like with all the pretty vegetables, but it is still warming and comforting. You know how fickle spring can be, gorgeous and in the 70′s one day and cloudy and in the 40′s the next! So, whatever weather mother nature gives to you, this risotto is perfect.
Risotto with Spring Vegetables
5 1/2-6 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
16 baby carrots (6 ounces), trimmed, peeled and halved lengthwise
16 thin stalks asparagus (6 ounces), trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 cup sugar snap peas (4 ounces), trimmed, strings removed
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add carrots and cook until almost tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add asparagus and peas and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove the vegetables to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside. Maintain the broth at a gentle simmer.
2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large wide saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onions and garlic; cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat grains. Pour in wine and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the broth and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice begins to soften, about 15 minutes. Stir in artichoke hearts and thyme and cook, adding more broth as needed, until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the reserved vegetables and cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.