Whenever I am looking for a foolproof recipe, I turn to the Barefoot Contessa. She breaks down techniques that appear to be difficult and uses simple and fresh ingredients to achieve dishes with very complex flavor. I totally connect with her love for French cuisine and the fact that she is a self taught cook. Risotto is known to be finicky, but with Ina’s tips I promise yours will be successful. I recommend watching her video linked to this recipe if you are more of a visual learner.

All of these ingredients are readily available at Trader Joes’s. The only change I made to this recipe was subbing nonfat Greek yogurt for the mascarpone to lighten it up a bit. It was still super creamy and flavorful. I didn’t have chives on hand so I used fresh cilantro, which I love as a garnish and always have in my fridge. The lemon zest and juice brings all the flavors together and adds a bright yellow accent. If you need some guidance on chopping fennel, check out this Youtube Video. I had never used fennel before this recipe because I am not a huge fan of its licorice flavor. I’m really happy I decided not to cut it out. It only enhances the risotto flavor and is not overbearing at all.

Spring Green Risotto

Spring Green Risotto

Spring Risotto

Ina Garten’s Spring Green Risotto
Cuisine: Italian
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4-6

The Barefoot Contessa is the queen of using simple and fresh ingredients to create gourmet meals. This risotto is perfection – creamy, cheesy, citrusy and colorful. This recipe will definitely impress your guest at your next dinner party.
  • 1½ tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1½ cups Arborio rice
  • ⅔ cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1½ cups shelled fresh peas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian or nonfat greek yogurt
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. 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 the asparagus diagonally in 1½-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)
  3. When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.
  4. Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.
  5. Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/spring-green-risotto-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback


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