Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Cooking with Ina Garten - Spring Green Risotto

I love risotto, and I don't know why I don't make this more often. I think of risotto as comfort food, and it's so versatile in what ingredients you can use. I always have homemade chicken stock in my freezer, and white wine is pretty much a staple in my fridge. I had purchased a lovely bunch of asparagus, and so I decided to make this dish that Ina had on her show a couple of weeks ago. I was intrigued by the addition of mascarpone cheese.

My dilemma was that I didn't have mascarpone cheese! I quickly surfed the net and I found several recipes on how to make my own mascarpone-- using cream cheese, sour cream and heavy cream. Once again, I usually keep these ingredients on hand, so I was in luck.

I think that this mascarpone substitute recipe is a winner, and much cheaper than the real
deal -- like a fraction of the cost!

The next step for me was to start a pot of water boiling and I blanched the fresh asparagus for 2-3 minutes. I wanted a bright green color and then I plunged the asparagus into an ice bath, to stop the cooking process...

Then I set them aside...

Then I got busy with the rest of my mis en place-- that would be "ingredient's prep". This is how I roll, because there is nothing worse than finding out you're missing a key ingredient and you've already started cooking! I didn't photograph the chives, because they are growing right outside my kitchen window!

I am thankful to have a lemon tree that is providing this beautiful zest. I decided to use only one lemon, instead of the two that Ina recommends. I read recipe reviews and many people said that two lemons was too overpowering-- you decide!

Risotto isn't hard to make at all! If you've never made risotto, just remember that you need to use Arborio or Carnaroli Rice-- because you want a starchy rice. Plain ole white rice just doesn't work. Trust me.

Traditional risotto uses chicken stock (heated up) and white wine. I had to adapt the recipe a
bit -- Ina's recipe uses fennel, but I didn't have any. Truth be told, I'm not crazy about fennel so I wasn't going to race to the store for any. I didn't have leeks, and I do love them. I did have shallots, so I decided to substitute with those. Either way would be great.

Using good olive oil and butter, I sauteed the shallots and then the rice-- and then I began adding the heated chicken stock a few ladles at a time, stirring constantly.

You can see that there is still some liquid left in the pan, but the rice has released a lot of starch. This is when I added my fresh lemon zest (from my wonderful lemon tree) and I seasoned the rice with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

I don't like overcooked asparagus, so I only allowed 5 minutes of cooking time once I added the blanched asparagus, thawed peas, mascarpone cheese, fresh Parmesan and fresh chives (as opposed to Ina's instructions to cook this for 15 minutes).

The beauty of living in California is that I can make a spring risotto in late summer! As Ina would say, how good is that?

Now, that's comfort food! (Pssssssst, you can always serve this as a side dish)

I have missed my food blogger friends, and I cannot wait to see what all of you have been up to!

Asparagus Lemon Risotto on Foodista

Spring Green Risotto

I've made many version of risotto. I decided to ...

See Spring Green Risotto on Key Ingredient.

Mascarpone Cheese Substitute

I was making a recipe for a Spring Risotto, and ...

See Mascarpone Cheese Substitute on Key Ingredient.

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Kate said...

This sounds great! I wouldn't excommunicate you! \

Our principals came back on duty last week....meetings, meetings, and more meetings.

Debinhawaii said...

Gorgeous risotto--I'll trade you a daiquiri for a bowl of it! ;-)

Donna-FFW said...

Oh Debbie.. the risotto looks wonderful. I love Ina Gartens recipes, she never fails.

I hope you find some time to unwind from work, take care of you, oK?

food with style said...

i keep forgetting to post how much i love your blog, i am too busy drooling over your pics to share!

Frieda said...

I have never eaten risotto, but just purchased a jar of Aborio rice, waiting for me to make it! I can't believe you have a lemon tree~ I'm officially jealous! Ü

Monica H said...

I've said it once, twice, maybe ten times but I miss you! This thing you call work is getting in the way!

I love risotto too, but I don't make it often. I would definitely make this version minus the peas (not a fan)!

I hope you get a chance to make the daiquiris soon :-) BTW, I'm jealous of your lemon seriously.

Danielle said...

I've never made risotto but have seen lots of recipes. I love your version. And the mascarpone substitute....awesome!

Tammy said...

Wow! This looks delicious, and I'm so glad you included a good sub for mascarpone. Sometimes it can be hard to find where I live. You've inspired me to try this risotto recipe.
I enjoyed browsing through your blog. It's beautiful!

Tammy said...

Wow! This looks delicious, and I'm so glad you included a good sub for mascarpone. Sometimes it can be hard to find where I live. You've inspired me to try this risotto recipe.
I enjoyed browsing through your blog. It's beautiful!

Kerstin said...

What a gorgeous risotto! I love how it's just packed with veggies :)

Maris said...

Looks great! I would love to be invited to Ina's house for dinner - or yours for that matter!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Your photos always look so good! Who could resist that risotto. Not me!