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Risotto: An always-in-season dish with local produce

Asparagus and Onion Risotto
Asparagus and Onion Risotto
Lindsey Spedding

This creamy rice dish stands alone as a hearty main course or can be a perfect addition to any meal needing a vegetable-packed side dish. The process of making risotto doesn’t change, but with ever-changing local produce, this dish can constantly be new and exciting.

Ingredients (for 4 large servings)

• 2 cups of in-season vegetables
• 1 cup Arborio rice
• 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
• 1 carton of Vegetable Broth (about 4 cups) + additional water if necessary for preferred consistency
• ½ cup parmesan cheese
• Salt and pepper to taste

The trick to risotto is adding liquid a little bit at a time, allowing the rice to absorb it gradually. The process of making risotto includes: lightly sautéing vegetables, adding rice and little bits of broth or water, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more, and finally, taking the pan off the heat and stirring in parmesan cheese. The beauty of risotto is the ability to use whatever vegetables are fresh and on hand.

Vegetable options by season:

Winter (December, January, February) – Collard Greens, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Turnips
Spring (March, April, May) – Artichokes, Asparagus, Broccoli, Corn, Green Beans, Spinach
Summer (June, July, August) – Peppers, Corn, Eggplant, Okra, Zucchini
Fall (September, October, November) – Squash varieties, Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, Garlic

All-year-long options – Mushrooms, Onions, Leeks, Peas, Carrots, Celery

To start, lightly sauté whichever vegetables you’ve decided on in a large pan with a the olive oil. Add your Arborio rice (dry) and stir it for about a minute with just the vegetables and oil. Add one cup of vegetable broth or water, and allow the rice to absorb it all before adding another cup. Continue this process until all the liquid is absorbed, or rice has reached the desired consistency. Test the rice to determine if additional liquid is needed. Once the rice is cooked as desired, take the pan off the heat, stir in the parmesan cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, and enjoy!

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