Spring calls for beautiful fresh, local produce and this spring risotto!
Made colourful with asparagus, mushroom and peas, this risotto is perfect to wow your guests for a dinner party. And yes, the fresh parmigiana regiano cheese is mandatory! In my book, it’s not risotto without all the salty, creamy cheese.
Spring has sprung and I am all about eating as local as possible – I’ve even started a little prep for my backyard garden. However, I personally think that some things just need to be purchased from the source. Prime example: parmigiana cheese (aka parmesan).
While shopping at my local health food store, I came across an organic brand of cheese that’s produced here in Canada. I had previously tried their sharp cheddar cheese and absolutely loved it. So, I decided to try their organic parmesan cheese because I ran out. The verdict: worst parmesan cheese of my life. I am no cheese expert but as a Canadian girl with strong Italian roots, I have eaten a fair share of cheese in my life (cheese is life!). I found it to be lacking flavour, creaminess and ultimately, fat content! As Massimo Bottura says, parmigiano cheese has that umami flavour and I couldn’t agree more. I could eat the parmesan cheese from Italy straight up by the truckload – with a glass of rosé of course!
Moral of the story, eat local but specialty food items need to come from the source. At least for me.
This risotto is rich and creamy, and definitely not a dish I eat everyday. However, I see many people shun rice as if it’s the enemy. I could totally understand why brown rice is a healthier alternative, since white rice does spike your blood sugar level but you know what, life is meant for living and that includes risotto for me. Sure, go ahead and make it with quinoa (quinotto sounds like a cute name), brown rice or cauliflower rice (lol), but will you really be satisfying your risotto craving? Europeans are known to be some of the healthiest people on the planet yet they eat whatever they want, including cookies and pastries for breakfast. BUT, they’re eating these treats and other decadent dishes, firstly, in moderation and secondly, made out of real ingredients.
This risotto is made with:
broth (vegetable or chicken)
vegetables (asparagus, mushrooms and peas)
These 5 simple categories of ingredients are natural – things your grandparents definitely had in their kitchen way back when. I’ll pick this risotto over an organic, gluten-free, non-gmo frozen pizza any day. Yes, non-gmo is a great logo to look for on products but it’s coming from a box and I bet that 9 out of 10 times, the ingredients aren’t just flour, water, eggs and toppings.
PS. For anyone with an intolerance, arborio rice is naturally gluten-free.
Asparagus, Mushroom and Pea Risotto (serves 6)
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup peas
- 1 cup asparagus, chopped
- 750 grams arborio rice
- 8 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 2-3 tbsp butter
- salt to taste
- parmesan cheese for serving
- Prep vegetables: In a pan over medium heat with a little butter, sauté mushrooms and set aside. Steam asparagus and peas and set aside.
- Make risotto: In a large pot over medium-low heat, cook diced onion in butter for 5-7 minutes, until lightly caramelized.
- Add arborio rice. Cook for 2 few minutes, stirring until the rice becomes translucent.
- Begin adding the broth. Stir constantly, adding 1 cup at a time. Add the next cup once the previous cup of broth has absorbed. Repeat until 8 cups of broth are used or until risotto has just a little bite to it – about 25-30 minutes.
- Add in freshly grated parmesan and salt to taste.
- Add the mushrooms, peas and asparagus.
- Serve with more freshly grated parmesan. Enjoy!