I made a spring risotto, with peas, fava beans, asparagus, mascarpone, and pecorino – all the flavors of spring. The fava beans and asparagus aren’t from our garden, but they are local and very tender and flavorful, so we’ll take ‘em. It was delicious.
Spring Risotto with Peas, Favas, Asparagus, and Mascarpone
- 1 1/2 c. arborio rice
- 4 c. chicken stock
- 1 c. water
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1/2 c. white wine
- 1/2 c. shucked fava beans (about 1 lb. with pods)
- 1/2 bunch asparagus (about 15 thin stalks), trimmed and sliced on a bias into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 c. fresh or frozen English shelling peas
- 1/3 c. mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 c. grated pecorino romano
- leaves from 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- extra thyme and shards of pecorino romano for garnish
- Prepare the vegetables. Heat the chicken stock plus 1 c. water in a large pot over medium heat until it comes to a low boil. Add the fava beans and asparagus, and boil for 2-3 minutes, until asparagus is bright green. Remove vegetables with a skimmer and plunge into very cold or ice water to stop the cooking. When cool, skin the fava beans – the easiest way to do this is to puncture the skin (which should feel a bit loose after cooking) with your thumbnail and then gently pop the bean out of it’s skin. The bean on the inside should be bright green. Set aside the vegetables, and lower the heat of the chicken stock to maintain a gentle simmer.
- In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Dont’ allow it to brown. Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until edges are translucent. Add the white wine and cook, stirring until fully absorbed.
- For the remainder of the cooking process, add the hot stock to the rice 1 ladleful (about 1/2 c.) at a time, stirring all the while and cooking until each ladleful is absorbed. The entire process will take about 20 minutes. If you find that you are running out of stock, add a bit of water to the simmering stock. The risotto is done when it is mostly tender but retains a bit of bite – you don’t want it to get mushy. When it reaches this stage turn off the heat. Stir in the grated pecorino, the mascarpone, and the thyme leaves until the cheese have melted. Add the prepared vegetables and the fresh or frozen peas. If the peas are very young and tender, the heat from the risotto will cook them just enough. If the peas are tougher and starchier, you may want to prepare them in the same manner as the fava beans and the asparagus.
- Serve hot, with extra thyme and shards of pecorino romano.