Asparagus, Fennel, and Pea Risotto

This is actually from the meal we had for Easter. I decided since we would be staying in to make a more complicated dinner. It ended up being really tasty and everyone was a fan. I will share the chicken recipe soon. For now, enjoy this risotto with lots of vegetables and warm weather flavors. If you are anxious about the fennel, well, I was, too. I have never cooked with it before, or even bought it before. I was worried it would be a strong flavor that we wouldn’t like, but we all did! On its own I think I would not be a big fan, but in the dish it worked perfectly. As for how to prepare it, read ahead.

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I like that this dish is both a starchy course and full of our vegetables all in one. The Fudgelet did well picking up the little pieces to feed himself (he still prefers fingers mostly over utensils).

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For the fennel, you want the main bulb part. Some recipes want the fronds, but not this one. Remove the thin outer layers, like an onion. Next, you need to cut out the core, which was easy. You slice it in half, then make little guide cuts around the core as you see above, before removing it completely. You could just cut it out without guide cuts, but I didn’t want to risk my fingers. You are then free to slice it like any other vegetable. It is fairly easy to slice.

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Directions for Asparagus, Fennel, and Pea Risotto

Adapted from Food Network Magazine

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter (or alternative)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used shiitake, but cremini would also be good)
  • 3 cups chopped leeks (white, yellow, and light green parts only)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel (white bulb part)
  • 1.5 cups Arborio (I used Jasmine instead) rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups simmering chicken broth
  • 1 pound (or bunch) thin asparagus, cut into 1.5 inch lengths (cut diagonally if you desire)
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest (you can use lemon instead)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra (to serve)
  • 3 Tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra (to serve)

Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the asparagus in the water for 4-5 minutes until al dente. Drain and pour immediately into a bowl of ice water.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a medium-large pan (I used a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for a few minutes to start to release their liquid, then add the leeks and fennel.

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Saute for another 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute, then add the wine and simmer, stirring constantly.

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Once the wine has been absorbed, add the chicken broth about 1/3 to 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the broth is completely absorbed before adding more.

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After the rice has been cooking for about 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, orange zest, and some salt and pepper.

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Continue cooking the rice for another 10 minutes longer or so, until the rice is tender, but firm, and you have added most or all of the chicken broth.

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Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, and mascarpone. When the risotto is ready, turn off the heat and stir in the juice/mascarpone mixture, along with the Parmesan and chives. Add more salt and pepper if needed, otherwise serve with more Parmesan and chives on top (if desired).

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Directions for Asparagus, Fennel, and Pea Risotto (without pictures)

Adapted from Food Network Magazine

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter (or alternative)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used shiitake, but cremini would also be good)
  • 3 cups chopped leeks (white, yellow, and light green parts only)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel (white bulb part)
  • 1.5 cups Arborio (I used Jasmine instead) rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups simmering chicken broth
  • 1 pound (or bunch) thin asparagus, cut into 1.5 inch lengths (cut diagonally if you desire)
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest (you can use lemon instead)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra (to serve)
  • 3 Tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra (to serve)

Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the asparagus in the water for 4-5 minutes until al dente. Drain and pour immediately into a bowl of ice water.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a medium-large pan (I used a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for a few minutes to start to release their liquid, then add the leeks and fennel. Saute for another 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute, then add the wine and simmer, stirring constantly. Once the wine has been absorbed, add the chicken broth about 1/3 to 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the broth is completely absorbed before adding more.

After the rice has been cooking for about 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, orange zest, and some salt and pepper. Continue cooking the rice for another 10 minutes longer or so, until the rice is tender, but firm, and you have added most or all of the chicken broth.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, and mascarpone. When the risotto is ready, turn off the heat and stir in the juice/mascarpone mixture, along with the Parmesan and chives. Add more salt and pepper if needed, otherwise serve with more Parmesan and chives on top (if desired).

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