Monday, April 18, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Spring Vegetable Risotto

Spring is in the air, which means that Passover is around the corner - no leavened bread or items that can be used to make bread for eight days (or in my lazy case, six or seven). This also means no rice, grains, corn etc. But, before Passover starts tomorrow tonight, I decided to get in one more fabulous grain dish, and one that is just *oh*so*perfect* for spring, a spring vegetable risotto. Thus, this was our Sunday night dinner. Risotto is fairly simple to make and vary recipes once you get the technique down of slowly cooking the risotto while reducing the wine and chicken broth. At that point, you can pretty much add just about anything to risotto. I have made the gamut of risottos, from tomato thyme risotto to asparagus risotto to various mushroom risottos to even truffle risotto. This time, I decided to prepare a risotto that is inspired by the spring - one that uses just about ever fresh spring vegetable that I could get my hands on (plus some pattypan squash, which is more of a summer vegetable, but I couldn't resist). This turned a delicious risotto that is perfect for the springtime, and also pretty healthy as well.

Sasha's Spring Vegetable Risotto
1 1/2 cups arborio (risotto) rice
4 cups of low sodium chicken stock
2/3 cup white wine
2/3 cup thinly sliced sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes)
1 1/2  cups sweet peas or English peas
1 1/3 cup thinly sliced pattypan squash (stems sliced off)
1 large handfulls fresh baby spinach
8 stalks white asparagus, chopped into small pieces, bottom ends of stalk discarded
2 cloves of garlic, diced
4 T olive oil
6 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

First, prepare the vegetables to they will be read to add to the risotto at the right time. The different vegetables will take different amount of times to cook, so it is important to add them in the proper order. First, slice the sunchokes and saute over medium to medium-high heat in 2 tablespoons oil for about ten minutes. Then add the pattypan squash and saute over medium heat for another five minutes before adding the white asparagus, garlic and peas. Saute until everything is just cooked (but not overcooked and mushy) for about 5 to 10 more minutes. If you need to, you can add additional olive oil to the pan.

Meanwhile, prepare the risotto by adding the arborio rice to the remaining tow tablespoons of olive oil, cooking for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Add the white wine over medium heat and allow the wine to reduce for about five minutes, at least by half, before adding the first cup of chicken stock. Simmer over medium heat to reduce each cup of chicken stock before adding the next. You should need about three and a half to four cups in total (about one quart). Once the last cup of chicken stock is almost reduced, stir in the vegetables. Add two large handfulls of baby spinach, which will shrink a couple minutes after it is added to the pot. Continue until the chicken stock is reduced to the texture of risotto (not too runny) and then stir in the parmesan cheese (you can leave this out if you prefer ). Serve hot. Note: you can use vegetable or mushroom stock in lieu of chicken stock to make this dish vegetarian.


  1. This risotto is definitely screaming spring time to me! Sounds absolutely delicious!


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