tablespoons olive oil
tablespoons unsalted butter or 1 1/2 tablespoons margarine
cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
cup chopped fennel (1/2 bulb, we didn’t use, personal preference)
cups arborio rice
cup dry white wine
cups simmering low sodium chicken broth (we used vegetable stock) or 4 -5 cups low sodium vegetable broth (we used vegetable stock)
lb asparagus tips
ounces frozen peas, defrosted
tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
tablespoons fresh lemon juice
cup italian mascarpone cheese
cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra
parmesan cheese, for serving
tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra
fresh chives, for serving
To prep, discard the tough ends of the asparagus and cut the tips diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths.
Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until tender.
Drain and cool immediately in ice water.
Heat the olive oil and butter (or margarine, if using) in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the leeks and fennel and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender.
Add rice and stir for a minute to coat with the oil and butter.
Add white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed.
Add the stock, two ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more.
The whole cooking process will take 25 to 30 minutes.
When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons of 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.
Allow to sit off the heat for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.
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