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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Spring Risotto

Mar 03, 2018 11:00AM ● By Lana Granfors

What's Cookin'

March 2018
Story by Lana Granfors
Photos by Kara Stewart

This month’s recipe was shared by Kendra Kaiserman, formerly the sales and marketing assistant here at Enjoy magazine.  She explained that this recipe is baked in the oven, and since I had never made a risotto without a lot of stirring involved, I knew we had to give it a try. Peas and asparagus are wonderful spring vegetables and make this perfect for a main or a side dish. (Skip the wine if you prefer, but it adds a lovely depth of flavor.)



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Spring Risotto 

Serves 4-6


7 T olive oil, divided

1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 small yellow onion)

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cup vegetable broth plus 1 cup water

1 1⁄2 cup arborio or short grain white rice

1 bunch of fresh asparagus spears, about 1 lb.

1 1⁄2 cup fresh English peas (about 8 oz)

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1⁄2 cup dry white wine, optional

3 T unsalted butter, diced

1 tsp. sea salt, more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Zest and juice of 1 lemon


STEP 1: Move an oven rack to the middle position and another rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  

STEP 2: Heat  2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, another 1 to 2 minutes. Add 4 cups broth cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and stir in the rice. Cover the pot and bake for 45 minutes.

STEP 3: Next, prepare the asparagus by cutting off and discarding the tough ends. Slice the spears diagonally into 11⁄2-inch-long pieces. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Set aside.

STEP 4: Once the risotto has been in the oven for 45 minutes, transfer the asparagus to the lower rack of the oven. Carefully remove the risotto from the oven, remove the lid, and add the peas to the risotto. Cover the pot again. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes which will allow the peas to steam. 

STEP 5: Remove the risotto from the oven, leaving the asparagus in for another 5 to 10 minutes, until tender and roasted. Remove the lid and add the cup of water, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, a generous amount of pepper, and the zest and juice of half your lemon. Stir vigorously with a big spoon for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Stir in the roasted asparagus. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.