Sunday, April 29, 2012

Springtime Asparagus and Pea Risotto

It's that time of year again when asparagus are in season. You'll be sure to find those pretty green spears at all the farmers markets nowadays. And have you ever seen them actually growing out of the soil? They're so cool looking. When I worked as an organic vegetable gardener a few summers ago, I had the privilege of tending to a good-sized asparagus patch and I was amazed at just how interesting they looked popping up from the soil.

The possibilities for these green guys are virtually endless. Toss them in a quiche, make a raw salad from them, lightly steam them and top with a farm fresh hard-boiled egg, add them to a vegetable curry, or make a gorgeous risotto like this one! Asparagus are super high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and they're loaded with vitamins. Eat them lightly cooked or raw for maximum benefits.

Asparagus and Pea Risotto (serves 2 as a main dish and 4 as a side dish)

6 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (omit for vegan version)
One bunch of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces

1.Pour the vegetable stock into a saucepan and bring to a low simmer.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate large pot, saute the onion in butter or olive oil with a pinch of salt until nicely softened. Then, add the rice and stir until it's coated in the butter, about 2 minutes. Add the wine. Pour yourself a glass while the bottle is open.

3. When the wine is almost fully absorbed by the rice, add a ladle-full of warm vegetable stock. Continue to stir until absorbed. Add another ladle full and repeat until all of the stock is used up and the rice is cooked through. If you need more liquid to cook the rice thoroughly, adding water will be fine.

 4. Turn off the heat under the risotto and toss in the asparagus and peas. Stir well. The heat from the risotto will lightly cook the vegetables and they will still retain their crunch and bright color. Stir in the Parmesan cheese (if using) and serve right away.

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1 comment:

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