Spring Vegetable Risotto

For those of you unfamiliar with risotto, you’re missing out on something spectacular. I’d always seen it made on cooking shows and I’d seen it on restaurant menus and such, but rice has never really thrilled me, so I always just passed it by. Last summer, my life changed forever.

Johnny’s extended family goes on a great big vacation every other summer, it’s really a swell time. Last year, Johnny and I couldn’t make the whole trip, but we spent four days split between Ottawa and Montebello, Canada. While in Ottawa we stayed at the b-e-a-utiful Fairmont Chateau Laurier smack dab in the center of Canada’s capital city right next door to Parliament.

The first evening we dined in Wilfrid’s Restaurant, located right in the hotel. As I glanced over the menu I was instantly struck by a dish composed of organic salmon with a sweet soy glaze and stir-fried bok choy over a wild mushroom risotto. Salmon is probably one of my favorite things to eat, so I knew this dish was meant for me. The risotto wasn’t a second though in my mind.

My tune changed completely when that dish was placed in front of me. Beautifully presented, the salmon was divine, but the risotto stole my heart the second I took my first bite of it. “I need to learn how to make this and I need to eat it every day forever!!” And so I did.

Risotto seems kind of intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite simple to make. All it takes is some arborio rice, chicken (or vegetable) stock, and patience. Now, after that long story (which by the way, if you read that whole schpeal…high five!) here is my personal recipe for risotto!

Spring Vegetable Risotto

  • 2 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock,
    brought to a simmer and reduced to low so it just stays hot
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 large shallot, diced fine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends removed,
    cut into bite sized pieces, heated in a microwave safe bowl with two tablespoons of water for one minute
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Black pepper to taste

Here is your risotto set up. Big pot for risotto. Smaller pot for hot stock.

Begin by heating the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat in the big risotto pot. Add the garlic and shallots and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook about 5 minutes, stirring to coat with olive oil and butter.

Add the wine and stir until the liquid is completely absorbed.  Add a ladleful of the hot stock to the pot. Stir until the liquid is completely absorbed.

Repeat this process for about 30 minutes until all the stock is added to the pot and the rice is tender and a creamy consistency is reached.

Here is my risotto stirring face!

Add the peas and asparagus, as well as the remaining butter. Stir to combine.
Add the parmesan cheese and black pepper. Serve immediately!

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