Boy, do I have a wonderful vegetarian recipe for a Meatless Monday! I love to order risotto when we are out to eat, but have always been intimidated to make it! At the start of 2010 I told myself that this was going to be the year that I was going to break boundaries–make foods that intimidate me. Risotto is a “labor of love”, and boy was it ever, but oh-so worth it in the end. I found this recipe in my new cookbook: Cook Yourself Thin. Best of all one cup is only 489 calories! Not bad if you pair it with a grilled piece of chicken like we did or just eat it as your main course!
Risotto with Spring Vegetables
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 2 medium zucchini trimmed, halved lengthwise, sliced 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1 lb asparagus ends trimmed (cut into small bite size pieces)
- 1 cup spinach chopped fresh
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp basil thinly sliced
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 cups arborio
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Combine the oil and onion in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the zucchini, turn the heat to medium-low, and cook until soften and light browned, 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring the 5 cups of stock to a simmer in a saucepan wide enough to hold the asparagus. Add the asparagus and simmer until barely tender, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs onto a side bowl. Also at this time remove the cooked zucchini from the pot with the onions.
- Add the peas, 1/4 cup of the cheese, and 1 tablespoon basil into the same bowl that the asparagus and zucchini are in.
- Keep the stock on a low simmer.
- Stir into pot with onions: 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of basil. Add the butter and the rice, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the rice is translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup simmering stock and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 2 minutes.
- Continue adding the broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, and cooking, stirring frequently, until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy and has the texture of loose porridge, 17-20 minutes. Once the rice is fully cooked add the reserved contents of the bowl back into the risotto. Add chopped spinach and stir frequently. *You may not use all the stock you cooked. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the pepper.