springtime-risotto-tx

I’m so happy today. I’m sitting at my new iMac.

I’m not new to Macs—I’ve been using them since college when I was a design student. After that, when I lived (very briefly) in Montana, I bought my own. I remember taking it out of the box—giddy and overcome with art.

My laptop, which I bought four years ago to start my career as a novelist, has been unfailingly loyal. When I put my writing on hold and dove into blogging like a crazy person, my little white box held on while I ran Adobe programs almost constantly. Sadly, it is now too slow to do what I need it to do, and today was claimed as the “kids’ computer” by my five-year-old.

To add to my happiness today, it rained. For the first time this year, it really felt like spring. Oh, we’ve had warm days here and there, but today, when the rain didn’t turn to snow, or chill me to my bones, I knew that spring has finally arrived.

I made this risotto, full of fat asparagus spears and peas, to celebrate the season which could not be anymore welcome.

When choosing asparagus, look for the thickest stems possible. Heads should be tight and not starting to flower. Peas—unless you grow them in your own garden—are generally best bought frozen.

springtime risotto with peas and asparagus

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine (or 1/4 cup of white grape juice, plus one teaspoon of champagne vinegar)
5-6 cups homemade or low sodium canned chicken stock
1/2 pound asparagus spears, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

1.  In a small pot, simmer the chicken stock (or canned broth with water).

2.  In a large skillet, melt butter over low heat.  Add shallots, and saute.  Add rice, and stir until the rice grains begin to turn translucent.

3.  Increase the heat to medium low.  Pour in wine, and stir until liquid is absorbed.  (Test absorption by scraping a wooden spoon along the bottom of the skillet.  If the rice and liquid do not fill in the path made by the spoon, then it is time to add more liquid.)

4.  Ladle in 1/2 cup of stock.  Stir frequently until liquid is absorbed.  Add another 1/2 cup of stock, and stir frequently until the liquid is absorbed again.  Repeat this process until rice is desired texture.  Most people prefer the rice to be a bit chewy in the center, but not crunchy.  This should take about twenty minutes.

5.  About five minutes before the rice is done cooking, stir in the asparagus. Add more chicken stock as necessary to continue cooking the rice. Once the rice is the desired texture, stir in the peas and parmesan cheese. Spoon in to bowls and garnish with parmesan cheese shavings, cut with a vegetable peeler.

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