Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Springtime Medley Risotto

I realize the irony of posting "Springtime Medley Risotto" smack in the middle of winter when it's 7 degrees outside, but sometimes you just need to see the light at the end of the tunnel and in this instance I'm experiencing that through fresh asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon zest. I figure if I can't step outside and experience spring, I can whip up a batch of it in my kitchen.

When many people think of risotto they picture themselves tied to their stove for hours on end stirring and stirring and stirring... But, have no fear! It's not as difficult as they make you think it is. Sure, you need to stir when you add liquid, but it really isn't as time consuming as you may think.

When you order risotto in restaurants it usually comes smothered in Parmesan, which I never quite understood. The natural creaminess of the rice makes this dish stand on it's own, without the use of gratuitous cheese. The lemon zest adds tang and the sun-dried tomatoes an earthy taste and texture that will bring you back for more.

So, get out of your winter funk, crank your furnace up to 75, throw on your flip-flops, and experience a taste of spring!

Springtime Medley Risotto
Recipe from Jesse Miner for VegNews Magazine

6 cups vegetable stock
1 bunch asparagus, ends removed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra virgin oil
3 spring onions, greens removed and diced
5 green-garlic stacks, dark green removed, and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, and then diced
1 meyer lemon, zested, plus 1 tablespoon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to boil. Add asparagus and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender and bright green. Removewith strainer, run under cold water to halt cooking, drain, and set aside. Reserve stock in pan and reduce heat to simmer.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onions, garlic, and salt and sauté for about 5 minutes,or until onions are translucent. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to lightly toast grains. Add white wine and stir every 1 to 2 minutes until wine is completely absorbed.

Pour 1/2 cup of hot stock over rice. Stir rice every 1 to 2 minutes until stock is completely absorbed. Repeat until rice is “al dente”with a thickened sauce. This should take approximately 30 to 35 minutes.

Turn off heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cooked asparagus pieces, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and juice,and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.

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