Springtime Risotto

Risotto is now one of my favorite dishes.  I discovered it about 5 years ago and ever since I’ve been trying to perfect my favorite way to layer in the flavors.  (While many ingredients are necessary I think I added the wine so I can sip it while cooking!) It’s a thicker rice that absorbs liquid slowly over 20 minutes so it really takes in a lot of flavors.  I use 4 cups of liquid for 1 cup of dry rice.

I know this isn’t a Cinch recipe but I wanted to share this delicious dinner.  I make butternut squash with sage a lot in the winter time.  The asparagus looked so delicious in the store I was inspired to make this.

Here’s all that goes into it (I forgot the frozen peas for the photo shoot):

I started by roasting the asparagus with olive oil, lemon juice & pepper.

I use shallots instead of onions.  I find the shallots are milder and make a creamier risotto.  I started sauteing the shallots in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 2-3 minutes.  Shallots cook faster than onions.  Next you add 1 cup of the arborio rice and saute for another 2-3 minutes.

Next, I add 1 cup of wine.  I buy the individual small bottles so I don’t waste a whole bottle.

And then, I usually drink another of the small bottles while stirring.  Swigging straight out of the bottle of course!  So, you slowly stir until the rice has completely absorbed all the liquid but don’t let the rice brown up.  Then I put 2 cups of vegetable stock and 1 cup of water in the microwave to heat up the liquid.  I used to use 3 cups of the stock but found it was too strong of a flavor so I now water it down.  Once the wine is absorbed then add 1 cup of the heated stock.

Again, allow the stock to completely be absorbed in the rice while stirring.  Then add another cup of the stock and stir until it is completely absorbed.  Finally add the remaining cup of stock and this is where I add frozen peas, lemon thyme, rosemary, a little lemon zest, salt and pepper at the same time.  Once all of the liquid is absorbed I add the cheese!

I use Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and the other cheese was a recommendation that Whole Food had out.  It was a hard cheese with a nutty flavor.  I’ll update this with the name the next time I’m there.  I use a microplane to finely grate the cheese so it melts really well.

Next, I cut up the asparagus into 2″ pieces and add them.  Then top the risotto with even more freshly grated cheese!

For my meatatarian husband I bought some precooked shrimp flavored for shrimp scampi.

I let him pull the tails off himself.  After the 1 cup of rice absorbs 4 cups of liquid you end up with about 3 cups of risotto.  Shaky math I know.

So, a delicious meal or side dish.

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