Spring Vegetable Risotto

Guest Posts, Italian, Main Dish, Rice, Seasonal Recipes, Spring Recipes, Vegetarian | 7 comments

I don’t know about the rest of the moms out there, but this past week has been incredibly hectic and emotional with school ending. Logan is a very sensitive guy. Even the slightest change from routine throws him off, and unfortunately school ending and summer beginning has been a HUGE change. Luckily, I have wonderful blogging friends who are willing to help me out even though we are many miles away!

For today’s post I have a special guest post to share with you today from a great blogging friend, Dana. If you’re a vegetarian or just trying to eat less meat you will love her blog: Dana Treat. As you can tell from my blog, I’m definitely not a vegetarian. I do, however, try to plan at least one meatless meal a week. I love fruits and vegetables and meatless meals seem a lot faster to prepare for me, so that really helps on busy nights. I think variety is great for a healthy lifestyle and this helps me mix it up.

Hello goodLife {eats} readers! I am honored to do a guest post on this wonderful blog. I am lucky enough to have met Katie in person at BlogHer Food last fall and let me tell you, she is as lovely and kind in person as she appears on her site.

Katie, like many of you, is interested in eating less meat these days and so she asked me to share a good vegetarian dish with you. It is Meatless Monday after all! I have been a vegetarian more than half my life and have never cooked any other way. I used to work as a personal chef and now do small event catering and teach a few cooking classes. Needless to say, I have a lot of vegetarian recipes in my arsenal.

I wanted to share this risotto recipe with you all because it just screams spring, but I also want to tell you my method for making risotto in general. It is infinitely adaptable so the next time you buy some gorgeous looking produce from the farmers’ market and aren’t sure what to do with it, you can make risotto!

I have to give credit to Cook’s Illustrated magazine for coming up with a way to make risotto without being chained to the stove. Rather than adding the broth small amounts at a time, you add most of it up front, give the rice a vigorous stir, then allow it simmer. After about 16 minutes, you add the rest of the broth and your vegetables and stir until it is creamy. With this method, you only need to stir for a few minutes rather than 25.

I always pre-cook my vegetables before adding them to the rice and I add them in at the very end. That way I can control how much they cook without relying on the heat of the rice to do the job for me.

I’ve made this risotto successfully with tomatoes, roasted garlic, and basil in the summer, and with chanterelle mushrooms and butternut squash in the fall. Try whatever you like. And happy cooking!


Spring Vegetable Risotto

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10 thin asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal
1 large handful sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
1 cup shelled fresh English peas
2 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups Arborio rice
6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Have a large bowl full of ice water ready. Put the asparagus and sugar snap peas in the water and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Working quickly, scoop the vegetables out of the pot and into the ice water. Add more ice if the water feels warm to the touch. After 5 minutes, drain the vegetables well.

Add the English peas to the water and cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. (These steps can be done 1 day in advance. Wrap well in a clean cotton towel, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate.)

Bring the vegetable stock to boil in a medium saucepan. Lower the heat and allow to simmer.

In a large wide pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion along with a pinch of salt and allow to sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 6 minutes. Add the fresh thyme and cook 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with the butter, onions, and thyme. Pour in the wine along with another pinch of salt, and stir constantly until the wine is absorbed – just a minute or two. Now ladle in about 4 ½ cups of stock. Stir vigorously, then lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Allow to cook, stirring very occasionally, for about 16 minutes, or until the broth is mostly absorbed.

Uncover the pot and add most of the remaining stock. Stir continually until the broth is almost all absorbed and the rice is cooked through, about 5 minutes. If the rice is at all chalky, add the last bit of stock and continue to cook. You don’t want to over cook the rice because it will be mushy. Carefully stir in all the vegetables, the Parmesan cheese, the lemon juice and zest, and the tarragon. Take the pot off the heat and cover. Let rest 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.


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