Monday, April 16, 2012

Meatless Monday: Spring Vegetable Risotto with Balsamic Asparagus & Portabellos

A couple of years ago, Duff Man bought us tickets to the International Food & Wine Festival at the Ronald Reagan Building.  While we were there, we caught a cooking demonstration with Todd Gray from Equinox.  What I remember most was his discussion of risotto which boiled down to "Fight the power!  Don't stir it!"

I pump my fist with you, Todd Gray, and I pledge my allegiance to your cause: delicious risotto sans sore arms.

Spring Vegetable Risotto with Balsamic Asparagus & Portabellos

For the Risotto:

1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1 leek, halved and sliced thinly (light green & white parts only; float them in a water bath so the silt falls to the bottom, then scoop the greens from the top and pat dry with a tea towel)
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. arborio rice
1/3 c. dry white wine
3 1/3 c. vegetable stock, brought to a boil and then turned down to simmer on low (I cheated and used chicken stock because I had some fresh stuff on hand.)
2/3 c. English peas
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c. mascarpone or cream cheese (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Basil or your favorite herbs, chopped

For the Grilled Veggies:
1/2 bunch of asparagus, woody ends trimmed
1-2 portabello mushrooms, wiped clean and gills scraped
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 T. grill seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced

Heat a large pot or dutch oven on medium heat and add the olive oil & butter.  Once the butter has melted, add the leeks, onions, and garlic to the pan and saute for 2 minutes.  Add the rice, coating the grains thoroughly, then add the wine.  Simmer while stirring, 2 minutes.  Add 1-2 ladles (about 1/3) of hot stock into the rice, stir to combine, then let sit.  (Fight the power!)  

Once the rice has absorbed the stock, add the next 1/3, stir, and wait some more.

While you're waiting, fire up the broiler or grill to high.  Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, grill seasoning, and garlic in a small, airtight container.  Shake vigorously to combine.  Pour the marinade over the asparagus and mix well--then arrange on grill or broiler pan.  Repeat with portabellos.  Grill/Broil for 4-5 minutes.

Add the rest of the stock, then add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and peas; season with salt & pepper to taste, and then--you guessed it--wait some more.

Pull the veggies off of the grill and set aside.  Once the risotto has absorbed the last of the stock, stir in the parmesan, mascarpone or cream cheese, herbs, and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Add the risotto to your serving bowl and top with asparagus, and sliced portabellos.  Garnish with extra parmesan and chopped herbs.  


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