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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lauren Alexander: Risotto Primavera...

Risotto was one of those things I had never tried until recently, but swore I didn't like it. Truth is, I didn't even know what it was. Pasta? Rice? To me it looked like a tasteless dish but boy was I wrong. This summer I kept coming across recipes for risotto and they all included some of my favorite veggies so I felt compelled to give it a try. And no matter what I added-shrimp, veggies, or anything that sounded good- I became a risotto fan! I must admit, it's a bit of a "high maintenance" dish to prepare but if I can make it with a needy 16 month old at my feet, anyone can! Plus, most of the ingredients are ones that you typically already have on hand. Check it out...

Risotto Primavera
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 1/4 cups water
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (sold in nearly every grocery store)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup frozen green peas
12 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, divided (I used plain old grated Parmesan)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Toss 1 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1/8 tsp salt, and tomatoes on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until tomatoes burst.

3. Heat 3 1/4 cups water and broth in a saucepan over medium heat (do not boil).

4. Heat remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add rice; cook 1 minute. Stir in vinegar; cook 30 seconds or until the liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly (this is the "high maintenance" part). Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Add peas and asparagus to pan with last 1/2 cup of broth mixture. Remove from heat. Stir in grated cheese, remaining salt, and juice. Spoon about 1 3/4 cups risotto into each of 4 bowls; top evenly with tomatoes. Top with more grated cheese and pepper.

Yummmm is what I have to say about this recipe. It's creamy, tasty, filled with veggies, and fully satisfies. Other veggies to try are shelled edamame and cut green beans. I've also added shrimp which is a good alternative if you want more than veggies only. No matter how you make it, risotto is a great base for adding whatever you're in the mood for. It may take a little extra attention but it's worth it when you know your whole family can enjoy the same meal for once!

Let me know what you think and anything you add to make it your own.

Happy cooking!

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