Spring Green Risotto with Peas, Asparagus and Fennel ~ this healthy risotto recipe with fresh spring vegetables will have you dreaming of spring! It makes a naturally gluten free side dish or light meal.
Risotto is one of the rare dishes that strikes me as being equally appropriate all year long … depending on the recipe, it can be serious winter comfort food, or a light spring time supper. Just like pasta, risotto is a great base for an almost endless variety of flavor combinations and seasonal variations. The key to this light primavera version is to seriously undercook the veggies and keep everything as fresh and green as possible.
This is the perfect recipe to take advantage of all the fresh spring veggies appearing in the grocery stores and farmers’ markets. It is a great way to highlight the delicate flavors of peas and asparagus which can sometimes get overwhelmed in other dishes.
This particular risotto has a secret weapon that helps boost its flavor and helps it achieve that pretty spring green color. In addition to the fresh garden peas, asparagus, and fennel I made a puree of frozen peas and parsley and stirred it in at the very last minute. It makes all the flavors of the finished dish pop and adds an extra dose of nutrition as well.
Sometimes risotto gets a bad rap for being labor intensive and difficult to get just right, but it’s really not so bad, and the results are totally worth it! These tips from Bon Appétit will dispel you of any risotto-myths you might be holding onto (hint: you don’t have to stir it constantly!).
Risotto really is the perfect meal for all seasons–check out my other risotto recipes to keep yourself inspired all year!
- SIX MINUTE INSTANT POT LOBSTER RISOTTO
- EASY MUSHROOM RISOTTO
- ROASTED CORN AND SAFFRON RISOTTO
- INSTANT POT ROSÉ RISOTTO
- 1 cup fresh shelled garden peas
- 1 lb baby asparagus, trimmed
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small head of fennel, thinly sliced
- 1 heaping cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry Sherry
- 48 oz chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup good quality Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and immerse the asparagus and the garden peas for 30 seconds. Drain and immediately plunge the vegetables into ice water. Let cool in the ice water, and then drain. Chop the asparagus into one inch pieces.
- In a food processor or blender, puree the thawed peas, and parsley until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat the broth in a saucepan on the stove and leave it on very low heat as you begin the risotto.
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy pan. Saute the shallot, onion, garlic, and fennel for about 5 minutes, until the fennel is crisp tender.
- Add the rice and stir as you cook another minute.
- Add the Sherry to the pot and stir until it is absorbed. You want the heat to be hot enough so that you hear a good sizzle when the Sherry hits the pan. When the Sherry is absorbed, add your first ladle of broth and cook, stirring constantly, until it is absorbed.
- Continue to add the broth, stirring almost constantly, waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before adding more. After about 20 minutes, add the garden peas and asparagus, and continue cooking until the rice is tender and you have used most of the broth. Taste the rice to check if it is tender. If not, keep cooking. If you run low on broth, add a little water to it..
- When the rice is tender, stir in the pea and parsley puree. Continue to stir until it is hot throughout. Add the cheese and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot with a little extra cheese.
Make it your own ~
- Make it vegetarian using veggie broth instead of chicken broth.
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