Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring has Sprung: Corn & Asparagus Risotto

Blossoms at the Huntington Gardens
Springtime.....That's right ya'll, it may still be snowing in other parts of the northern hemisphere, and it seems as though it's perpetually snowing north of the wall (GOT nerd alert), there is no cold weather to be heard of down here in sunny Los Angeles. This is slightly ironic because the day I decide to write this post just happens to be the coolest and cloudiest day of the week, but we've still got a high of 75 forecasted for today so not to worry. Spring brings so many wonderful things, but aside from the lovely flowers, perfect running weather, inappropriately short shorts, and swim suit sections in department stores, another fantastic thing that pops up is spring produce.....yay for spring produce! I know you're as excited as I am, I know it.
Recipe Inspiration: I was probably a little more excited than I should have been when I found organic asparagus and organic corn at Trader Joe's, but regardless of my yelp of joy and the scared old lady next to me who definitely thinks I have a damaged frontal lobe, the challenge that I faced was daunting. How to use this fresh spring produce in a new recipe that my father and brother would enjoy? Risotto immediately came to mind, as did the lemons hanging on our lemon tree, and the fact that I want a pair of diamond earrings. But only the first two items are relevant at the moment;  risotto it was, and it would definitely be made brighter and fresher through the addition of some lemon juice. Gotta love it.
Nutrition Note: This Recipe is actually very well rounded as far as protein goes. The protein from the corn, rice, asparagus, and beans all provide a complete and abundant protein. In addition there is plenty of fiber thanks to the beans, asparagus, and corn. Lastly there are no added fats and sugars, so it is really a healthy and delicious meal.

Corn & Asparagus Risotto
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup water plus extra for adding to the onions as needed
- 1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I prefer plain, unsweetened soymilk)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/3 cups corn, removed from the cob (this is about 3 ears of corn)
- 2 cups chopped asparagus, chopped in 1/2-3/4 inch long sections
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 cups (a little over 2 cans) of navy beans, white beans, or cannelini beans
The Finished Product
1. In a medium pot, mix together all of the vegetable broth, water, and soymilk and brink to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low just to maintain the heat without evaporating off liquid.
2. In a large, heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven (this is ideal if you have one) saute the onion on medium-low heat until it is translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add water as needed to prevent from sticking.
3. Add the garlic and stir it around with the onions for a minute on medium heat.
4. Add in the risotto and the white wine and stir in with the onions. Allow the wine to cook off, and the risotto to toast until you notice a faint, nutty smell or they start to turn gold around the edges.
5. Add about a cup of the heated liquid mixture to the risotto and stir in over medium-low heat. Stir the risotto regularly until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the heated liquid in this manner (a cup at a time) until all of the liquid has been absorbed; after the fourth cup (with one cup of liquid remaining) add in the corn.
6. Upon addition of the final cup, stir in the asparagus, beans, salt, and lemon juice.
7. Once the liquid is absorbed, but the risotto is still relatively fluid (a good risotto should spread out if poured onto a plate, not old it's shape) then turn off the heat and serve immediately.

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