Sunday, April 28, 2013

Asparagus and Arugula Risotto

Risotto is more of a winterish meal, but you can make it springy with beautiful green vegetables! I made this risotto a couple weeks ago for dinner and Greg and I loved it. The risotto has a great flavor and texture, and it is loaded with healthy green things. Since asparagus is more in season now, it is less pricey at the grocery store. When I went to the Outer Banks, NC for spring break (in March), I ended up paying over 10 dollars for a pound of asparagus. Note to self - when a price isn't marked on something in the grocery store, it means it is way too expensive to buy!

I think you'll love this risotto recipe. It's not too filling and it's completely vegetarian, but it is also entirely satisfying. It's a great meal to celebrate spring, which I think is finally here to stay. Happy Spring to all!

Recipe for Asparagus & Arugula Risotto 

4 cups of vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. of Extra-Virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups of chopped chives
3 basil leaves, torn into smallish pieces
1/4 tsp. of dried fennel seed
1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice
2/3 cup of white cooking wine
1 lb of asparagus, tough ends removed & then cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
A handful or two of Arugula leaves
3 Tbsp. of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. of kosher salt
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
Finely grated Parmesan cheese (for topping)

Heat the broth in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Once it is hot, leave it on the burner but adjust the heat to the lowest setting.

Heat the olive oil and 1 Tbsp. of butter in a large stockpot set over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the chives, basil, and fennel seed. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add in the Arborio rice, and stir consistently for 1 minute, until it is coated with the oil and butter. Pour in the cooking wine and cook on low, stirring frequently, until it is fully absorbed. Ladle the hot broth mixture into the rice mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time. After each addition of broth, stir constantly and allow it to cook and absorb into the rice. This process should take about 20 minutes total.

When you are about halfway finished with the broth additions, cook the asparagus. Put asparagus in a saucepan with boiling water and cook for 3 - 4 minutes. Immediately drain asparagus in colander and rinse with very cold water. (Make sure you are continuing to do the broth additions while you are cooking the asparagus).

When you are just about finished with the broth additions, add in the lemon zest, arugula leaves, salt, pepper, and asparagus to the risotto. Add in the remaining amount of hot broth into the risotto. Once  the broth is all gone and it is fully cooked into the mixture, add in the remaining tablespoon of butter, cream cheese, and lemon juice. Stir until ingredients are fully incorporated. Serve risotto in bowls. Top each bowl with extra black pepper and some finely grated Parmesan cheese.

*Makes approximately 6 - 8 servings of risotto. 

Recipe Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

Looking for more risotto recipes? Try the Butternut Squash Risotto