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from "A New Way to Cook" by Sally Schneider

Asparagus and peas appear at the same time in spring and, like all things of the same season, they bring out the best in each other. The raw vegetables are added to the cooking rice so their juices flavor the risotto.

You can use almost any kind of vegetable, from butternut squash to parsnips, in the same way. The only trick is to calculate when to add the vegetables to the rice. Longer-cooking vegetables such as winter squash should be added sooner; quicker-cooking vegetables such as leafy greens, later. The vegetables should melt into the rice without being mushy. Al dente vegetables are not appropriate in risotto.

For 4 servings, you need 2 to 2 1/2 cups raw vegetables.

Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a first course

8 ounces asparagus
1 pound peas in the pod or 4 ounces sugar snap or snow peas
3 1/2 to 4 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium shallots, finely chopped, or 1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
1 cup Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, or Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons regular or reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of kosher salt and/or sugar if necessary
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chervil or flat-leaf parsley

Print Print recipe

1.Break the tough ends off the asparagus (when you bend a stalk with both hands, it will break at the point where it is becoming tough and dry). Coarsely chop the stems and put them in a medium saucepan. If using peas in the pod, shell them and add the pods to the saucepan. If using sugar snap peas or snow peas, pull off the stem ends to remove the tough string that runs along the "spines" and add to the pan. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes; keep at a simmer.
2.Meanwhile, slice the asparagus stalks on a diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces. Slice the sugar snaps or snow peas, if using, on a diagonal into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.
3.In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil over low heat. Add the shallots, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to moderate, and cook, stirring, until the shallots are golden. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains look chalky with a white dot in the center of each, about 5 minutes. (Do not allow the rice to brown.)
4.Add the wine and simmer, stirring, until it has been absorbed by the rice. With a skimmer, scoop the vegetable trimmings out of the simmering broth and discard. Stir in 1/2 cup of the broth and simmer, stirring frequently, until almost all the liquid is absorbed, 3 minutes. Add another 1/2 cup broth and simmer, stirring, until it has been absorbed. Stir the asparagus into the rice and add 1 cup of the broth. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Stir in the peas. Continue adding the broth in the same fashion, 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice grains are tender but still firm in the center and the risotto is creamy but not soupy. Remove from the heat.
5.Stir in the sour cream, about half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and pepper to taste. Add the salt and/or sugar and the lemon juice if necessary to pick up the flavors. Garnish each serving with the herbs, and pass the remaining cheese on the side.
In Advance: You can sauté the shallots and rice up to 2 hours ahead. Set aside at room temperature.

Buy The Ingredients
Product nutrition and information
 Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
  Asparagus - $3.99/ea Save! 2 for $7.00
 approx 1lb, Farm Fresh

Snow Peas - $3.99/lb
 Farm Fresh
  FreshDirect Chicken Stock - $3.49/ea
  Shallots - $2.99/pkg
 1lb, Farm Fresh  
  Roland Arborio Rice - $5.29/ea
  Varanda do Conde Vinho Verde
This product is currently unavailable.
  Breakstone's Sour Cream - $3.29/ea
Parmigiano-Reggiano, Aged 2 Years - $18.99/lb
 Not Grated
  Lemons - $0.99/ea Save! 5 for $4.50
 Farm Fresh, Med
  Italian Parsley
This product is currently unavailable.
You May Already Have
  Bel Aria Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - $11.29/ea
  Breakstone's All-Natural Unsalted Butter - $2.99/ea
 2 sticks
  Gefen Ground Black Pepper - $1.88/ea
  Morton's Coarse Kosher Salt - $2.99/ea
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