It’s spring, it’s Monday, and I’m hungry…how about you?
More specifically, I’m hungry for plenty of the fresh veggies the season brings. The original version of this recipe relied heavily on asparagus as the stand out vegetable, but to be honest, it’s not my favorite. I like it just alright, but it wouldn’t be top on my list. That said, I do like to have it a couple of times a year because I like celebrating what’s in season. Also, I know lots of y’all love the stuff. In a can’t get enough of the stuff this time of year, give me more, eat all the asparagus kind of way. I’m here for you 🙂
I modified the original recipe to up the veggie content and truly make it into a meal. If you’re not a fan of anything I’ve used here, you could certainly do some substituting. Artichokes or fresh spring peas would be great, I think. Another great thing about this recipe is that is uses a cup of champagne…meaning you have the rest of the bottle left. You know, just in case you get thirsty while you’re stirring the risotto.
Champagne Risotto with Asparagus, Green Beans, and Peppers
adapted from Cooking Light, April 2014
2 large orange bell peppers
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4-in. pieces
1/2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 3/4-in. pieces
3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
2 c. vegetable broth
2 c. water
1 c. chopped sweet onion
1 1/2 TBSP chopped garlic
1 TBSP chopped shallots
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1 c. uncooked Arborio rice
1 c. champagne or sparkling wine
3 oz. goat cheese, plus more for crumbling
1. Preheat broiler to high. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil. Cut pepper in half lengthwise and discard seeds and membranes. Place skin side up on one of the prepared baking sheet and press to flatten. In a large bowl, combine asparagus, green beans, and 2 TBSP olive oil. Spread in an even layer on the remaining baking sheet.
2. Place baking sheets in the oven with peppers on the top. Broil 5 minutes, or until asparagus and green beans are tender, but still crisp. Remove asparagus and green beans and set aside. Broil peppers 7-10 minutes more or until blackened. Place peppers in a paper bag, fold to close tightly, and let stand 10 minutes. Peel and chop the peppers, then combine with the asparagus, green beans, and lemon zest.
3. Meanwhile, bring broth and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan, taking care no to boil. Keep warm over low heat.
4. Heat a large saucepan or medium heat. Add remaining oil and swirl pan to coat. Add onion and cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Add garlic, shallots, salt, and pepper. Cook mixture 2 minutes more.
5. Add rice and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in champagne and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Reserve 1/4 c. broth mixture then add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 c. at a time, and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is nearly absorbed, approximately 4 minutes. (This process should take about 20 minutes in all.)
6. Stir in vegetable mixture and cook until thoroughly heated, 2-3 minutes. Stir in remaining broth mixture and 3 oz. goat cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings.
7. To serve, spoon 1/4 risotto into a shallow bowl and crumble goat cheese over the top.
Yield: 4 servings