In honor of Groundhog Day, I thought I would post a nice spring-inspired recipe. Then that blasted little rodent predicted six more weeks of winter. You know what? Forget him. I’m ready for spring, and spring flavors, and I’ll start embracing that no matter what anybody has to say.
This meal all started when my husband requested more risotto. A few weeks ago, we had a hearty mushroom risotto that we both loved. It was hot and creamy and cheesy and absolutely perfect for a cold January day. When he requested more risotto, though, he wanted something different. Now, I can fully respect this request; I’m always game for varied flavors. The one issue was that I’d only ever made mushroom and seafood risottos. Not wanting to buy all of the seafood, this meant I’d have to develop a new recipe. And when it comes time for me to develop a new recipe, we all know my fall back: vegetables.
This recipe certainly fits that mold. Filled with vegetables and a hint of lemon, it’s light and healthy and tastes so fresh. The starch in the rice gives it a natural creaminess without actually adding any sort of cream. In contrast to the soft rice, the veggies are so crisp and flavorful. And while it has a great sense of vernal happiness, this risotto is still a pot full of hot and filling goodness and thus appropriate for these dreary winter days.
I will admit that risotto isn’t the fastest meal to come together. It’s ridiculously easy to make, but you’ll have to spend some time standing at the stove stirring. Don’t let that deter you, though! Cue up something good on Netflix, pour yourself a glass of the wine you’re cooking with, and just go for it! Once it is all ready to eat, I promise you won’t regret your decision. So go and make this for dinner! Even if it’s still snowing outside, this dinner will start to put you in that spring state of mind!
Lemon Scented Risotto Primavera
Makes 6 main dish servings, or 8-10 side dish servings
- Olive Oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 large carrots, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 small bell pepper, diced
- 5 oz frozen peas, defrosted
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- ½ tbsp. dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- 6 cups vegetable stock, heated
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Parmesan cheese for serving, optional
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the pepper and peas and sauté for another minute. Add garlic and lemon zest and sauté for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and set aside. At this point, the vegetables should be just barely cooked and still pretty crisp; you’ll mix them back into the rice at the end, and don’t want them to get mushy.
- Heat a little more olive oil in the large pot, and toast the rice and thyme. Reduce the heat to low, and slowly add vegetable stock and wine, about ½ cup at a time, stirring continually. As the liquid is absorbed you’ll add more, until the rice is soft and cooked through. This will probably take half an hour to forty five minutes.
- Once the rice is cooked, stir in the lemon juice and vegetables, and cook until the veggies are heated through. Serve hot, with cheese if desired.