Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Spring Risotto recipe

While some may argue that risotto is more of a winter comfort food, this Sunday I whipped up a Mother's Day risotto that was the perfect combination of spring freshness and flavors. It was a modified version of Ina Garten's (a.k.a. the Barefoot Contessa), and despite her being one of my less-favorite Food Network pundits, I thought her Hamptons cooking would be just right for a beach-front Mother's day brunch. Isn't it purty?
Here's her recipe with my modifications:


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks) (used 1 whole onion instead)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (left it out--the risotto was quite lemony with just the zest and no extra juice)
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian (left itout--risotto is creamy enough without marscepone)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving (left it out)


Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.


Anonymous said...

Thought you might like to know the 9th ave street fair is tomorrow.
The Ninth Avenue International Food Festival in May has become a favorite weekend for New Yorkers since it began in 1973. From 37th Street to 57th Street, Ninth Avenue closes to cars and the festival takes over. More than a million people visit the festival each year. It's unique and amazing, celebrating the joys of ethnicity through food, entertainment and every kind of street fair stall.

Come for Argentinian, Brazilian, Cajun, Chinese, Cuban, Dominican, Ethiopian, French, German, Greek, Haitian, Indian, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Moroccan, Pakistani, Polish, Puerto Rican, Peruvian, Senegalese, Sicilian, Southern, Spanish, Thai, Trinidadian, Turkish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese food - and more!

Working up from the south end of Ninth Avenue, you will be enticed by:

* chorizo sandwiches - from Esposito Pork Shop, at 38th
* the best sausage and pepper hero ever - from Giovanni Esposito & Sons at 38th
* clams and oysters on the half shell at the seafood stands (Central Fish and Sea Breeze) around 38th Street
* soupy, spicy gumbos, crab cakes and chicken curry - from Chantale's Cajun Kitchen near 38th
* suckling pig and quail stuffed with fresh Greek spices and feta cheese - from Ninth Avenue International Foods, near 40th
* peppery crisp squid - from Siam Grill, near 42nd
* iced coffee and iced cappuccino - from the Empire Coffee & Tea Company near 42nd
* bourbon ham sandwiches, Texas chili with corn bread, mango barbecue wings and macaroni and cheese - from Good And Plenty To Go, at 43rd
* carrot cake and apple pie - from the Little Pie Company at 43rd
* chicken salad made with corn, black beans and jicama, and barbecued pork tostadas - from Zuni, at 43rd
* meatball hero - at The Holy Cross church stand on 43rd
* corn fritters gently flavored with shrimp, crisp spring rolls and nasi goreng - from Bali Nusa Indah, near 45th
* spanakopita and tiropita surrounded by the most delicate phyllo pastry that you will ever find, and then baklava or strudel - from Poseidon Greek Bakery, near 45th
* breads, brownies, cookies and cinnamon-raisin, garlic, rosemary or black olive fresh bread twists - from Amy's Bread, near 47th
* jambalaya - from Delta Grill at 48th
* pork in mole sauce, wrapped in a corn tortilla - from Tacocina at 49th
* huge, inexpensive portions of Brazilian foods like bolinho bacalhau, a fried salt-cod casserole - at Rice 'N' Beans, near 50th
* Greek barbeque, octopus, lamb and chicken souvlaki - from Uncle Nick's, near 50th Street
* pad thai, dumplings - from Wondee Siam, at 54th
* roast pork - at Ned Kelly's bar on 55th

And somewhere along the way you will also come across:

* alligator, shark, lobster, shrimp and catfish nuggets
* burritos, jerk chicken and curried chicken
* cheescakes - from Martha Francis
* french pastries
* fried elephant ears
* full pigs rotating on spickets over an open fire
* grilled corn on the cob
* kokoretsi (lamb livers and sweetbreads wrapped in intestines)
* paella
* soft shell crab
* steak sandwiches
* turkey drumsticks


Nomadic Matt said...

if i wasnt going to dinner right now, id be a little upset about how hungry you made me