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Spring. Need I really say more. As gifted rays shine through my windows only to be outdone by chirping birds and vivid blooms, I am haunted by images from the Midwest, my Midwest, where so many people suffer unthinkable hardships. Although this little simple blog about real food should stay on mission, I can’t help but think that my spring and favorite time of year in California where the hope and promise of all that can blossom is a far different spring for our dear friends in central states. Our hearts go out.

Spring is short and in some years we’re nearly robbed of the season when one minute it’s winter and without warning we’re amid the oppressive heat of summer. I hold onto it where I can. Produce comes onto to the scene with a splash. After months of root vegetables suddenly, strawberries – cheap, plentiful, red – enter like Dame Edna at church. Peas, asparagus, fava beans, and artichokes join the display. When prepared in a simple risotto, the vegetable come alive for an impressive and manageable one-pot meal.

Risotto is one of my go-to weeknight preparations. It feels more special than another pasta and it’s incredibly flexible. I make risotto with chicken stock and then a splash of cream. You can go full chicken stock or more cream depending on your diet and fearlessness.

One note about the vegetables and risotto, spring vegetables should not be overcooked, so add the vegetables right at the end.

spring vegetable and lemon risotto

preptime: 5 minutes servings 4

cooktime: 20 minutes (active)

1 T olive oil

1 c arborio rice

3-4 c chicken stock

1/4 c heavy cream

1-2 c spring vegetables (sliced asparagus, shelled peas or peapods)

2-3 T fresh lemon juice

1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

  1. Heat olive oil in heavy bottom pan on medium to medium low heat.
  2. Heat chicken stock in separate pot and keep warm. This will be your liquid to add in slowly to the risotto enabling it to absorb the liquid and flavor. You want it hot so it doesn’t slow down the cooking process when you add it to the risotto.
  3. Pour arborio rice into pan after the olive oil is heated. Stir with attention until the rice begins to lightly brown on all side.
  4. Begin adding chicken stock with just one cup. The rice will sizzle and may incorporate the stock immediately. When the stock is nearly absorbed add another cup of stock. The heat should be on medium.
  5. Add in the cream and when the cream is heated, add in the vegetables. You may add in more chicken stock depending if the rice isn’t cooked enough yet. When vegetables are still undercooked move to the next steps. Do not overcook vegetables – there’s my lecture!
  6. Add lemon juice. Taste as you go and adjust all seasonings to your liking.
  7. When the risotto should is creamy within a sauce, but still has some firmness to the bite (al dente), add the grated cheese, stir, and serve.

recipe provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com


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