Recently, Trey and I had a few friends over for dinner while testing out some red wines for an upcoming post (it's coming next week—get excited!). Our friend Adam asked me what I make for dinner usually, since he knows I love to cook. I told him that I make risotto a lot and he was shocked! He asked how I had the patience to make it, which is a pretty valid question, since a big part of making risotto involves standing over the pot and stirring for about 15 to 20 minutes. I didn't admit this to Adam at the time, but I'll tell you the truth, since we're all friends here. I typically either check Instagram or play some kind of game on my phone while I make risotto. It's my end-of-the day, unwind moment. I'm currently hooked on Farm Heroes, if you're curious.
So, that's me. The girl stirring risotto, a somewhat fancy dish, while playing Farm Heroes or Candy Crush or something along those lines. I'm pretty cool; what can I say? :)Risotto Primavera, serves two to three.
1 cup arborio rice
2/3 cup white wine*
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
8 oz cooked shrimp
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
1/2 white onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
24-30 asparagus spears
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
salt + pepper
*Note: What kind of white wine? Good question. I will often save any leftover wine (if we don't finish a bottle) for cooking. If you are opening a new bottle, choose something that you'd like to drink with dinner. I avoid sweet wines like Moscato or Riesling when cooking. For this particular dish I used a Chardonnay.
First, finely chop the onion and garlic. Also chop off the hard ends of the asparagus spears (a good test for this is to bend the spear in your hands and see where it naturally breaks). Thaw the peas and carrots, as well as the shrimp.
In a large saucepan cook the peas, carrots, and shrimp in a tablespoon or two of olive oil over high heat. Season with salt and pepper. You're really not looking to cook these ingredients, as they are already cooked, but rather to sear in some salt and pepper flavor. After a couple minutes, remove these ingredients to a plate and set aside until you need them later.Next, place the asparagus on a baking sheet or in a large cast iron pan. Toss with 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 375°F until bright green and softened. Depending how soft you prefer your asparagus, you can adjust the bake time, but I like to let it bake while I prepare the risotto (about 15-20 minutes).
In a small pot combine the wine and vegetable stock. Simmer (over very low heat). Having these elements warm will help them to cook into the rice faster. This step is not absolutely necessary, but I find that it does save me some time. In the large saucepan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic just until they begin to soften and become very fragrant (1 to 2 minutes). Toss in the rice and cook for another 2 minutes until it begins to look translucent. Now begin adding the wine/stock mixture, half a cup at a time, stirring until it's mostly absorbed before adding more. Continue until the rice is cooked through. I usually taste a few grains of rice once I've used most of the wine/stock mixture. You may not need all of the liquid, but you'll at least get close. :)
Season with salt and pepper. Now stir in the peas, carrots, and shrimp. Cook until everything is warm. Last, stir in the cheese.Check on your asparagus. Serve the risotto alongside the baked asparagus. Sprinkle the chopped thyme over the top before serving.Feel free to change up the vegetables with whatever you have on hand. You could use cooked chicken or baked tofu in place of the shrimp if you prefer. Do what you love. Enjoy! xo. Emma
P.S. In case you're curious, this was Trey and my work lunch one day last week. It was a good day. Way better than granola bar lunch days. :)
Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography by: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Penelope of the Signature Collection.