Thursday, March 21, 2013
For this month, the theme of The Improv Challenge is peas and carrots. There are endless ideas revolving around pot pie, but as I look forward to spring, I wanted to do something a little lighter. Asparagus is just coming into season, and I thought it would be fun to combine it with peas and carrots for a delicious vegetarian risotto that is great as a main dish or a side dish. And, of course, I threw in mushrooms cause everything is better with mushrooms.
The beauty of this dish is that it is so versatile - use whatever veggies you like or have on hand - add peppers, zucchini, pea pods, etc! And if you cannot abide the idea of a meatless main dish, throw in some cooked chicken, pork or shrimp at the end.
Risotto does take a bit of time to cook but it is worth it! Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, then add the asparagus.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes or until asparagus is bright green and crisp-tender. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon to a bowl or plate and set aside. Turn the heat to low to keep the broth warm.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the carrots, onion and garlic.
Cook for a few minutes til onions are soft, then add the mushrooms.
Cook for an additional two minutes, then add the rice.
Cook and stir until rice is golden and fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Now add a ladleful of broth to the skillet.
Cook and stir until all the broth is absorbed, then add another ladleful of broth. Keep adding broth, cooking and stirring, until the rice is tender, but has a bit of a bite. Stir in the peas,
and the asparagus,
and then sprinkle with the Parmesan.
Give it a good stir, season to taste, and enjoy!
One year ago: Beef and Bok Choy Hot Pot
Two years ago: Banana Blondies
Three years ago: Mixed Rice and Barley Pilaf
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 cup sliced baby carrots
1 cup quartered white mushrooms
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup green peas
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Add asparagus, reduce heat to low, and simmer until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer asparagus to a bowl. Meanwhile, keep broth at a near-simmer on low heat.
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, carrots and garlic; cook and stir for 3 minutes; add in mushrooms and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring gently, until toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Pour 1/2 cup of the hot broth mixture into the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is almost absorbed. Adjust heat if necessary to maintain a simmer. Repeat, using 1/2 cup liquid at a time, until rice is becoming tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Mix in peas and asparagus and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan, stirring until cheese melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 3 as main dish or 5-6 as a side dish.
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