I’m home in California for the week and Saturday I volunteered to help my cousin (owner of the organic and local catering company Sugar and Spice) make lunch for my aunts and their best girlfriends. The meal tasted exactly like summer should, with strawberry and mint lemonade, melon wrapped in prosciutto, and an english pea, asparagus, and lemon risotto. Here is Claudine’s recipe, along with a couple of her tips:
English pea, asparagus, and lemon risotto:
1 1/3 cups of arborio rice
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 shallots, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine (or more stock) (plus a glass for yourself *my tip*)
a bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch lengths (save the tips for garnish)
2 cups fresh, shelled, english peas
Juice and zest from half a lemon
A cup of grated parmesan cheese
Extra parmesan curls for garnish
Salt* and freshly ground black pepper
And patience (apparently this is important)
1. Melt butter and oil together in a heavy saucepan over a low heat, while at the same time, bring the stock to a simmer in another small saucepan.
2. Saute the shallots and garlic until soft, then add the rice and stir for one minute.
3. Add the wine and continue stirring until all liquid is absorbed. Add half a cup of stock and again, stir until absorbed.
4. Keep adding stock half a cup at a time (and be sure to wait until all the stock is absorbed before adding more– this is not the time to rush). When you have only about a cup left add the lemon juice, zest, asparagus, peas and remaining stock to the saucepan, cover and leave for ten minutes. During this time, the last of the stock will be absorbed and the vegetables will cook to just crisp.
5. Stir in the grated parmesan, add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and serve with parmesan curls and asparagus tips to garnish. (Be gentle while stirring so you don’t crush the rice and turn it into a gooey paste).