So I know I just posted another spring vegetable recipe last week, but I couldn't wait to share this one as well. You all know I love risotto, and I've been looking forward to making a spring version since... well pretty much since last summer. I've had my eye on Ina Garten's recipe, but then I saw this one from Cook's Illustrated. Now Ina and Cook's Illustrated are probably my 2 favorite recipe sources, so I wasn't sure which one to use. It pretty much came down to calories, and this version is lighter. I also like how it uses the "refuse" of the veggies and herbs to create a flavorful broth.
Risotto is typically a very rich dish, but this risotto somehow still tastes light. I added some seared scallops to Joey's, but I kept mine vegetarian. It was without doubt the lightest and freshest tasting risotto I've ever made, and I was floored when Joey said it was his favorite. And at under 400 calories per serving, I'll definitely be making this again and again this spring.
Spring Vegetable Risotto
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Light and Healthy
- 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley, stems reservd
- 2 Tablespoons minced fresh mint, stems reserved
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), ends trimmed and reserved, spears cut on the bias into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 pound leeks, greens reserved, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and rinsed (about 4 cups)
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 3 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Combine the vegetable broth and water in a medium saucepan, and turn to medium-high heat. Chop the tough asparagus ends and leek greens into rough 1/2 inch pieces. Add to the broth, along with the reserved mint and parsley stems, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids, and return the broth to the saucepan. Set over low heat and cover to keep warm.
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the asparagus, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring often, until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the peas, and continue too cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and set aside.
Combine the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil, leeks, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in the pot. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8-10 minutes. Uncover and increase the heat to medium. Stir in the garlic, and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the ends of the kernels are transparent, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the wine, and cook, stirring often, until it has been completely absorbed, another 3 minutes.
Stir 3 cups of broth and continue to simmer, stirring every few minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pot is almost dry, 12 minutes.
Stir in 1/2 cup more broth every few minutes, as needed to keep the bottom of the pot from drying out. Continue cook, stirring often, until the rice is al dente, 10-12 minutes.
Remove from heat, and vigorously stir in the cheese, butter, and lemon juice, then gently fold in the reserved asparagus and peas. Season with salt and pepper if necessary, and serve immediately, sprinkling each portion with the gremolata.