Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Comfort Food from the Garden

I've had the unfortunate luck of getting sick my second week at the new job. Not just any cold, but one that seems to linger around - changing up the symptoms whenever it wants. Not to mention, my iphone is broken. Ya, I know, what's next? At least we've been blessed with the bounty and beauty of Spring (corny?). Spring peas, asparagus and oranges will give me the vitamins I need to beat this beast of a cold.

In the meantime, I'll let my mom take care of me. Thus, I can't take credit for this next recipe. It came from the Engel kitchen; some comfort food in the form of risotto. Using your freshest Spring veggies, you can make a knock-out risotto in no time at all. It's healthy, satisfying and goes down well with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (if you aren't under the weather, then again...).

Garden Risotto
adapted from Elie Kruger The Food You Crave
1/2 pound asparagus
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 3 cups lightly packed)
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Microwave the asparagus in a tightly covered microwave-safe bowl with 1 teaspoon water for 90 seconds and cut into 3/4 inch pieces. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil on medium-low heat and cook the onion and fennel until softened and translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly for about 1 minute. Next add the wine and let simmer, still stirring, until wine is absorbed. Using a ladle, add 3/4 cup of the hot broth, salt and pepper and simmer, still stirring! Stir until broth is dissolved and repeat with the 3/4 cup broth until the rice is almost tender and creamy. This should take about 15 minutes.

Here comes the garden! Stir in the peas and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the asparagus last and cook until everything is hot and well combined. Take off the burner and stir in the Parmesan cheese.


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