Amazing, isn’t it, how our food and eating habits change with the seasons. In spring, just when the whole landscape is waking up from its winter brown, our plates take on the same green color. Peas, asparagus, spinach, lettuces, herbs … GREEN!
This recipe for risotto with fresh herbs and vegetables is the epitome of spring. Avoid the temptation to use green veggies and herbs that aren’t in season and make this a true ‘primavera’ dish. You could certainly stir in a big handful of spinach or arugula at the end to up the green factor. Use homemade vegetable stock to make this dish vegetarian.
risotto with spring vegetables and herbs recipe
serves 4 (or 6 as a side dish)
4 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade) or vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 1/4 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/2 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup minced fresh spring herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon, savory)
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Place the stock in a saucepan and keep at a gentle simmer while you're cooking. Add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes; remove to a bowl.
In a heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil; when it's warm, add the diced onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it's translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with oil; cook until you see a white spot in the middle of the grains, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it's almost cooked off. Begin adding stock about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the stock is absorbed; when you scrape a spoon across the bottom of the pan, it will leave a path. You want the risotto to be "thirsty" before adding more stock.
The process of cooking, stirring and adding broth will take about 20 to 30 minutes. After about 20 minutes, begin tasting the risotto to see if it's done. You want the dish to be creamy, with grains of rice that are firm but tender. If the rice has a bit of crunch when you sample it, keep stirring and adding broth. When the rice is nearly done, add the peas and asparagus; cook until the vegetables are warm. Stir in the herbs and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with additional cheese.