Friday, June 3, 2011

Fabulous Friday Food - Spring Green Risotto

Oh my goodness, I have so much I feel like I should share with you all. I mean, I feel like it's been a month since I really wrote to you. Isn't that weird? I wrote more in the past month than I ever have, and yet I feel a little disconnected. Like I haven't really shared everything that's been going on.

I mean, you missed the fact that I was a single mom for two weeks in May. B had to take a class in Philly for two weeks, so I stayed here and held down the fort. (Don't feel too sorry for me--it's not that hard when your kids are teenagers.)

And did I tell you I took the girls to Florida? Yes I did. Family reunions are so much fun! Especially when they are held in a beautiful place like Naples.

And then there was ACT taking and end-of-the-year stuff and getting-ready-for-summer stuff (nah, I haven't done any of that yet). But there's been stuff. Trust me.

I really want to tell you all about what's happened around here in May, but my fans--both of you (thanks Lori and Lisa!)--have been asking for Fabulous Friday Food. I am nothing if not compliant (just ask my husband), so here you go.

May I just say my family is glad that I have an excuse to cook again?


I really think there are no new ideas under the sun. Pretty much everything is borrowed or stolen from somewhere else. Just take a look around the internet and you'll see what I mean.

Since I'm not a plagiarizer (is that even a word?), and since I don't even play one on T.V., I will tell you right off the bat that this is not my recipe. Aw, heck, hardly any of the recipes I share with you are mine. (A couple actually are though, and that's something in itself.)

This recipe comes straight from my cooking muse, Ina Garten. I want to be Ina. I want to cook her fabulous food and work in her fabulous kitchen and live in her fabulous home and throw fabulous parties for my fabulous friends. She is the epitome of fabulous.

Alas, I am not Ina and I'm pretty far from fabulous, but I can make her fabulous food (on Friday . . . get it?).

Let me tell you, this one truly is fabulous. I'm pretty much a risotto freak, and this is one of the best I've ever had. I've made it twice now, and both times it has been amazing.

Let's get cooking!

Assemble your ingredients (there are kind of a lot for this one--and I have no idea why they aren't all in the picture): olive oil, butter, leeks, Arborio rice, white wine, chicken stock, asparagus, peas, lemons, mascarpone cheese, and Parmesan.

Ina tells you to use a couple more ingredients like fennel and chives, but I didn't have them and I didn't feel like using them. My risotto turned out just fine.

Warm your stock in one pan while you heat the oil and butter in another.

Add the chopped leeks to the oil and butter, and cook a few minutes.

I just need to stop and say that I had never cooked with leeks before. Yes, it's true. I was a little intimidated because every time someone on the Food Network talked about leeks they sounded like leeks were such a pain in the neck to clean. I mean, what with all the tough green stems you had to cut off and the sand between the leaves, they made it seem like you could spend the whole day washing the darned thing before you got around to cooking it.

Enter Trader Joe's and their pre-washed, pre-cut, pre-packaged leeks. Can we all shout a collective "Amen" for Trader Joe's and their leek situation? Hallelujah!

Alright. I'm fine now.

Once you've softened the leeks, add the rice and stir it around a little bit to coat it.

Add some wine. And maybe just a splash more. Because . . . you know . . . wine!

Here's where you do the risotto thing. Once the wine is absorbed, start adding the chicken stock a couple of ladles-full at a time. Stir it around a bit so it doesn't get stuck to the bottom of the pan. Because it will, if you don't watch it.

While that's happening, cook the asparagus in some boiling water for just a couple of minutes. Be careful here because you don't want mushy asparagus.

After two or three minutes, pull the asparagus out of the pot . . .

. . . and give it a good old ice bath.

By now, your risotto should be getting all nice and soft, but not too soft.

Add the asparagus and the peas (I don't know where the peas went in this picture!) and cook for about another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix together the mascarpone cheese and lemon juice.

Add that, along with the lemon zest and some salt and pepper, to the pot, stirring to mix everything together well.

And there you have it . . . Spring Green Risotto. Serve in a pretty dish and enjoy! (I know you will . . . it's that good.)

For a printable copy of the recipe (the way I made it, so it's not exactly Ina's recipe), click here.

So tell me, what have YOU been up to during the month of May? What are you having to eat this weekend? Do you like risotto? Made any new friends lately? I have! (Hi Jen!) Talk to me in the comments.


  1. Sounds delicious! I love risotto...I recently made Risotto Primavera:
    So good! Just wish it didn't take so long to make!

  2. You always end your recipes with "put in a pretty serving dish..." and I have realized I have no pretty dishes! Everthing is just pyrex (plain and boring) because I was practical and clueless when I got married and registered for dishes. It makes me want to come view your pretty dishes to get an idea of what I should have at my house. I fully plan on asking for them for my birthday - in 3 1/2 weeks! Then I can serve Spring Green Risotto in a pretty dish!

  3. Krissa, I know what you mean. It does take time, but it's so worth it!

    Mrs. Wooga, I'm so glad you noticed that. I used to be the same way . . . plain white, boring, blah. But I started buying some cute serving dishes at Crate and Barrel after Christmas--really cheap!--and now I use them all the time. I just think it makes a meal more special. Stop on by and have a look!!

  4. I love making risotto! I never would have thought of adding mascarpone to it. I'm going to have to try that next time!

  5. Enjoyed the butternut squash risottoso much, I'm sure this one will be great too. Any ideas as to what to substitute for the peas? My little guy can't eat anything that comes in a pod.

  6. I will try this with my fam...your Spaghetti Carbonara is a huge hit with them! This weekend, I'm doing Skillet Lasagna a Cook's Illustrated recipe), Slow Cooker Chicken Curry, the Pioneer Woman's Drip Beef (got a great dutch oven from Costco!), and a hot spinach-artichoke dip for watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. :) Your friend in Vancouver! (aka Cindy)

  7. Hi Cindy, So glad you liked the other recipes! That's fun. :) Hmmmm. Maybe you could substitute broccoli that's cut up really small or green beans (can he eat green beans?). Or zucchini would be good too. Hope that helps!

  8. Sounds yummy Shelly. I've printed off my copy and will make it soon.

    Today I'm making shrimp creole. It's one of those recipes with 2 dozen ingredients, but I love it! Just goofing around the house today while hubby is teaching Old Testament at the college and daughter is taking the SAT. I've hurt my back somehow, and while it's almost healed up I'm using that as my excuse to steer clear of the vacuum cleaner or anything else industrious! Monday I'll be back into the grind of cleaning and such because we have some company coming next week. In fact, I have one of those A number 1 homemakers coming for a visit, so that means I've got to up my game! Trying not to freak out about it and keep it real.

    Have a great weekend!

  9. The Risotto I can't do– but I hearted the pictures – and I know yours is delicious – but alas (sigh) cooking for me is pretty much limited to 7 min. or less in a microwave. But…

    I went down and read about how happy you were that your husband didn't turn around and take you back to the farm. And I hearted that all whole lot. Wow. That was kinda like an old Meg Ryan movie – just in the reading. God bless you – and yours. Wow.

  10. My girls make a delicious risotto. I will share this recipe with them and they can make it for me.

    Hey next time we meet . . . we must discuss our mutual admiration for Ina.

    Glad your back for "regular blogging" too.


  11. I adore, ADORE, a delicious risotto and think I will have to try this one out. Someday when I'm not packing and have pots & pans again.
    Hope you enjoyed cooking with the leeks - they're great in soups too - I sometimes use them in place of onion or shallots.
    Now I'm hungry. :)