There are very few things that shout "SPRING" quite as loudly as fresh produce. After months and months and months (and months?) of eating cruciferous veggies, root veggies, and frozen veggies that are out of season, there's nothing quite like those first asparagus, those beautiful berries, and the fresh smell of produce that grows ABOVE the ground. Not to mention, the warm weather has transformed the tiny buds on our lilac bush into nearly full-grown leaves.
I've taken it upon myself to cook something challenging each night of my Spring Break (or bake something, or roast 4 pounds of brussels sprouts), and tonight was no exception. I tend to get overwhelmed when thinking of "challenging" recipes and bite off more than I can chew (no pun intended) and end up making nothing more than a mess. The lovely RhodeyGirl
suggested a risotto on Twitter yesterday, and upon reading the recipe, I knew I needed to make something similar! The recipe she had was from Better Homes and Gardens
and can be found on their website under Spring Green Risotto.
I wanted to make a less heavy version of the recipe, and ended up creating something similar, yet also very different. It featured two of my very favorite Spring ingredients: leeks and asparagus
* 1-1/2 Tbsp. good olive oil
* 1-1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
* 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts
* 1 cup chopped fennel bulb
* 1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
* 2/3 cup dry white wine
* 4 to 5 cups chicken or veggie stock
* 1 lb. thin asparagus
* 1-1/2 c. frozen peas, defrosted
* 1 Tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1. Heat olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the oil, butter, and vegetables. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cut asparagus diagonally in 1-1/2-inch lengths and discard tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water.
3. When risotto has been cooked for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until rice is tender but still firm.
4. When the risotto is done, stir in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Thank you so much Sabrina
for the recommendation of this (well, a similar) risotto! The flavors were inexplicably "Spring" and I'm so thrilled that there are enough leftovers for a couple of days! There's something about the fennel, asparagus, peas and lemon that are just so bright and refreshing after so many months of dark and starchy meals...
You may have noticed that I mentioned a giveaway in this post title. You didn't? Well, now you do, right? You may have also noticed the prep bowl I used with my asparagus above... you didn't? Go look, I'll give you a minute. Does that bowl look familiar? Perhaps you need to see it in other forms:
Now do they look familiar? That's right, those are CaliBowls
, only my favorite bowls in the entire world! They were one of the first things that I added to my OpenSky Shop
. I love how they've saved the front of my clothing, look cute, and are microwavable and BPA-free. Thanks to OpenSky
and CaliBowl, we're holding a giveaway for an entire CaliStack
valued at $33!
or on the image below to be taken to the entry page. You'll be asked to enter your email address, and at random, one winner will be chosen to win a turquoise CaliStack. Everyone else gets a bonus too! You will receive a 10% off coupon for any item in my OpenSky Shop
The 10% off coupon will expire one week from today, so happy shopping, and good luck to all who enter! Please let me know if you win the CaliStack
And before you ask, this giveaway IS for real and not an April Fool's joke!
Have an amazing night, and TGIF to those of you NOT on Spring Break!
P.S. Those of you on Facebook and Twitter who truly believed that I was receiving an iPad with cooking software to review, I apologize... APRIL FOOLS!!!