Soft Risotto Primavera with Asiago

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Soft and tender, a savory delicate blend of flavors in my risotto di Primavera. (Spring risotto).

I love risotto in all ways, well I was born right there, where riso Arborio and Carnaroli grows slowly in the water fields during summer. At home, we ate risotto every week,no escape, it was sacred, preferably Thursday at lunch. Why I do not know, it was just my grand ma ‘Risotto’ day.

This spring risotto brings me back to that time, like in a old Italian postcard, when little  girl I was curiously watching, all the colorful fresh vegetables standing in the sink, well equally diced waiting to go into the pan. A two hours long process…it filled up the all morning.
Not anymore, now, times have changed and to make this fantastic “primo piatto” easier, I used beautiful organic frozen peas and carrots with fresh tomatos, peppers, zucchini, for a faster cooking.

One rule rules here : it  has to be the right grain of the rice, so please use only the round Arborio or Carnaroli rice, cooked right in good olive oil!  Meaning risotto should  be soft but still sligthly crunchy to the bite, because an overcooked risotto is really not good,  believe me, it will tastes like glue…
It will be no glue on our plates my dear friends, just a beautiful fresh risotto Primavera!

Let’s make it! :

  • 8 cups vegetable broth, warm
  • 5 tablespoons good quality olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups of Arborio rice or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup white dry wine, room temperature
  • 1 large onion, diced, divided
  • 1/2 yellow pepper diced in small cubes
  • 2 garlic gloves ,minced
  • 3 scallions diced
  • 1 medium zucchini diced
  • 1 medium fresh tomato diced
  • 1x 10 oz bag frozen carrots and peas
  • 2 tablespoons fresh  Italian parsley chopped
  • fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup Asiago cheese grated

In a large pot, warm vegetable broth, (I used water and 1 Knorr vegetable cube) and keep it warm during the all preparation.

Wash and pat dry zucchini and tomato, yellow pepper, dice in small cubes, all same size, for a faster regular cooking and reserve.

Dice the onion.To a large  saucepan, add 3 Tbsp  olive oil and 1 Tbsp of butter, let melt, add 1/2 onion, cook over very slow heat for  at least 10 minutes. Now add  frozen carrots and peas, the 1/2 tomato diced,  pepper, adjust salt and pepper, fresh thyme, saute’ slowly for 10 minutes.

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In a second lage skillet, add remaining olive oil and butter, once mixture has melt, add remaining onion, garlic, scallions slowly let them cook till translucent not browned.

Add rice to the onion mixture, stir once, then white wine,  let wine to be absorbed  stirring well, salt and pepper.

Then add one or 2 ladles of broth just enough to cover the rice. Over medium heat, let liquid to be absorbed. One ladle at the time,  continue cooking making sure that  the rice absorbs liquid before adding some more, stirring often, about 18 to 20 minutes, just follow exactly the package directions. Close to end of cooking time, add parsley, and ….. taste the rice which should be slightly firm but soft.

If it is not done, let it go one minute more or 2. Taste again. Never let it be mushy.

Remove from heat, add cheese, stir softly once and let it go for 1 minute. This step it is called ‘mantecare il risotto’ in Italian cuisine. The warmth of the risotto and its flavors will all blend beautifully with the cheese.

To be eaten hot…  Subito a  tavola!!!

Tips: re- heat over slow heat, in a pan, no microwave, just use 1 tablespoon of butter or a dollop of cream on a pan, for a creamy texture.
You can skip zucchini or yellow pepper, keep fresh herbs, peas onions, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, for spring flavors.


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