Thursday, April 03, 2014

Risotto Primavera for Two

Most risotto requires stirring from start to finish. With just two at the table, we wanted to streamline; our risotto cooks undisturbed for the first 12 minutes. Only then do we break out the wooden spoon and stir continuously. Yet our finished dish is still remarkably creamy.

Serves 2

White button, shiitake, or portobello (caps only) mushrooms can be substituted for the cremini in this recipe. High-quality Parmesan makes a big difference here.

1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons olive oil
3 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup Arborio rice
3 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice


1. Bring broth and water to simmer in saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, covered, until just starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to bowl and set aside. Return now-empty pot to medium heat, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and heat until shimmering. Add onion and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until grains are translucent around edges, about 1 minute.

3. Stir in 1½ cups broth, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Stir in asparagus, cover, and cook 2 minutes longer. Add ½ cup broth and cook, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add remaining ¼ cup broth and peas and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is creamy and al dente, 3 minutes longer.

4. Off heat, stir in cooked mushrooms, cover, and let sit for 2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, basil, butter, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing extra Parmesan.

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