Spring Green Risotto (Ina Garten)

The first recipe for the month of May for the Barefoot Bloggers  was chosen by Kimberly of Indulge & Enjoy. This is my first time making risotto, gotta say I actually enjoyed standing by the stove listening to the radio and stirring away for half an hour. I couldn’t get any decent asparagus so I replaced it with  frozen broadbeans, aka fava beans. I didn’t think we’d like it but it turned out quite nice, I’m not saying I did a great job but I did ok, which is good enough for me and thanks to Kimberly I’ve made my first ever risotto.


4 servings for dinner, 6 servings for appetizer



  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving


Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.


Saffron Rice



Saffron Rice


Pinch of Saffron

½ cup warm water

3 cups basmati rice

50g unsalted butter, cut into chunks



Put the saffron into the warm water & leave to infuse for about 15 mins.

Fill a large pot with water & bring to a boil, ( fill it about ¾ of the way up only otherwise it will overflow when you put the rice in )

Once the water has come to a boil, add a good amount of salt (this is the best time to salt the rice, as you do with pasta)

Put the rice into the boiling water & give it a gentle stir as it will sink to the bottom,  boil the rice for about 5 mins it should still have the slightest bite to it, drain rice into a  colander.

Return the rice to the same pot, drizzle the saffron over, place the chunks  of butter around the top of the rice,  place the lid on and return to a very low heat and cook for a further 15 to 20 mins. (you’ll know it’s ready when all the butter has melted through the rice).

When done fluff it up using a fork.

Serves 6-8

Because this rice is boiled first there is no need to measure the water, just make sure you have lots of it so the rice can roll freely and not stick together.

If you just want plain white rice, don’t add Saffron, still tastes great.

The rice can be made a day ahead, after draining and topping with butter, just refrigerate,  when ready place on  low heat and finish cooking.

If you’re not in a hurry you can also finish cooking the rice in the oven, just place the rice and butter into a deep oven pan, cover with foil then place in a low oven (100 to 120 celcius)  until you are ready to eat, I’ve done it this way quite a few times and have left it in the oven for over an hour.


This goes well with the Lamb & Spinach Curry.