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Spring Risotto with Asparagus and Peas

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Spring Risotto

Spring Risotto, full of fresh asparagus, peas, and basil, is easy and delicious. 

When I was first married and didn’t have a big cooking repertoire, risotto was my go-to dinner. It’s a meal in itself – a side that serves as a main, and a main that needs no side except for, maybe, a simple salad. It’s creamy even though it involves no cream, and the ingredients are mostly things you can have in your pantry at the ready.

Risotto gets a little bit of a bad rap, but that’s only because there’s some stirring time involved. Like about 20 minutes when you won’t leave the stove. But if you’re in the kitchen anyway – maybe kids are doing homework nearby, or someone is hanging around talking about their day, or you have the news on TV – stirring is good, mindless activity. 

This is one of those recipes you can take all kinds of ways – add shrimp or chicken for protein, fill it up with mixed chopped herbs, use it as a base for whatever veggies you have on hand. Our favorite is a Spring Risotto, full of fresh asparagus, peas, and basil. It’s so super easy and so delicious…it might just find its spot in my regular rotation, all these years later.

Spring Risotto with Asparagus and Peas

5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
1 ½ cups arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup frozen peas
About 8 cooked asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

In a small saucepan, heat the broth to boiling. Reduce the heat, and keep it warm on the stove. (Alternatively, I like to put the broth in a large Pyrex measuring cup, heat it in the microwave for 3 minutes, and keep it ready to pour.)

In a medium heavy saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and sauté until it is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir, coating it with oil, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and increase the temperature to medium-high. Stir until the wine is absorbed by the rice, about 3 minutes. Ladle in (or pour in if you are using a measuring cup) ½ cup of the broth and continue stirring until it is absorbed by the rice. Continue adding the broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition until it is absorbed, for about 20 minutes or until the rice is al dente and creamy. Stir in the parmesan cheese, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the peas, asparagus, and basil, and serve warm.

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