Vegetable Risotto (Risotto Primavera)
You use nine vegetables in this attractive and satisfying risotto, each adding a different color, texture, and flavor. The various vegetables go into the saucepan at different times to ensure that you cook each one properly.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
1⁄2 cup olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried sage
12 asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off and discarded, spears cut into 1-inch pieces, and tips reserved separately
1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1-2⁄3 cups Italian rice (arborio, carnaroli, or vialone nano)
1 cup white wine
7 cups simmering vegetable stock or water, divided
36 green beans (string beans), trimmed and halved crosswise
1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 medium tomato, diced (seeds removed before dicing)
1 medium zucchini, diced
12 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
1⁄3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and sage and cook over medium heat, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the asparagus spears and bell pepper pieces and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, “toasting” the rice.
Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in 2 cups simmering stock and the green beans.
Reduce the heat so that the rice/vegetable mixture remains at a low boil. Stir often. After 3 minutes, add the peas and the asparagus tips, and 2 more cups of stock.
Continue cooking for 10 to 11 minutes, stirring frequently and adding more liquid in 1⁄4 cup batches as necessary.
Taste a grain of rice; it should be tender but firm. The mixture should have movement but no excess liquid. If the rice requires more cooking, add a touch more liquid and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Stir in the tomato, zucchini, basil, parsley, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately.