I made this beautiful risotto for my in-laws and everybody raved! Thanks for making me look good, Sue!! ~Julia
Spring Green Risotto with Peas, Asparagus and Fennel is a healthy risotto recipe with fresh spring veggies. It makes a naturally gluten free side dish or light meal.
risotto adapts to the seasons…
Depending on the risotto 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 green risotto 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.
what makes this spring green risotto green?
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.
easy tips for perfect risotto
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!
- Use the right type of rice: Risotto is typically made with Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano rice, which are short-grain varieties with a high starch content. This helps to create a creamy texture in the dish.
- Toast the rice: Before adding the liquid, toast the rice in some butter or olive oil for a few minutes. This helps to bring out the nutty flavor of the rice and ensures that it cooks evenly.
- Use hot liquid: When adding liquid to the rice, make sure it’s hot or warm. This helps to keep the temperature of the dish consistent and ensures that the rice cooks evenly.
- Add the liquid slowly: Add the liquid in small increments, stirring constantly, and wait for the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more. This helps to ensure that the rice cooks evenly and becomes creamy.
- Don’t overcook the rice: Risotto should be cooked al dente, meaning it should have a slight bite to it. Overcooking the rice will result in a mushy texture.
- Add the cheese at the end: Stir in the grated cheese at the end of the cooking process, after the rice has finished cooking. This helps to ensure that the cheese doesn’t become grainy or stringy.
more risotto, please!
Spring Green Risotto with Peas, Asparagus and Fennel
- 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 vegetarian using veggie broth instead of chicken broth.