A Really Good Spring Risotto

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As spring slowly fades into summer, everything is at it’s best. Late spring veggies collide with sweet summer fruits producing almost an orgy of choice. If you can say it that way. As I walked through the market one purveyor caught my attention…. I couldn’t help noticing because he was screaming at the top of his blackened chain-smoking lungs “fresh peas fresh beans…good prices!” Then the stall across from him would respond, as if drawing me into some sick mating ritual, yelling “fresh beans fresh peas…”  Then the first guy, screaming even louder, would retort…”Mine are better, fresher!!!” Unsurprisingly, with this hypnotic melee, I ended up walking away with a kilo of both beans and peas…. The question then remained, what to do with them? I decided on a risotto. There is a saying that goes:  “One serving of risotto is heaven, but anything more would be obscene.” Translation, risotto is so rich and creamy that one serving is more than enough. This risotto is no different, those of you who are counting calories should probably stop reading now. 
What you need:
  • 2 cups of Arborio rice (short grain Italian variety) 
  • 6-8 cups of chicken stock, heated and ready for use
  • 1 medium onion rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 150g butter (divided in half)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh shelled peas (or frozen in a pinch)
  • 2 cups green beans cut into 1-2cm (1/2″) segments
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup grated Romano (or similar) cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
How it’s done:
  • In a deep pot or sauté pan add half the butter and the olive oil.
  • Add the onions and cook them over medium heat until they are translucent.
  • Add the rice and cook for a minute or so, stirring regularly.
  • Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan until the wine is absorbed.
  • Start adding the warm stock 1-2 ladlefuls at a time.
  • Stir the rice continually. This releases the starches on each grain of rice, giving the risotto it’s unique creaminess.
  • Once the stock is absorbed add more and continue the process until the the rice is done. (If you run out of stock you can finish with warm water.)
  • About halfway through the cooking process add the peas and beans to the rice.
  • When the rice grains are soft and the risotto is creamy, remove from heat, stir in the remaining butter, yogurt and grated cheese. 
  • Let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve with your favourite meat.

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