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Author Notes: It's terrifically simple: while the rice is cooking, give your vegetables of choice a quick sauté, slowly incorporate them into the rice, and voila – risotto is served! I was looking for bit more pizazz, and a drizzle of garlic pea-garlic scape pesto did the trick. —Alexa Arnold
For the risotto:
- 2 cups rice, uncooked
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 3 red onions
- 1 bunch asparagus, about 12 stalks
- 1 bunch swiss chard, about 12 leaves, stems removed
- 1 cup sweet peas
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 drizzles of oil for sautéing
For the pesto:
- 1 pound garlic scapes
- 2 cups sweet peas
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- Thinly slice the red onions into small discs. Place them in a thick-bottomed pot, and sauté over medium heat with the butter until they're soft and caramelized. Add the rice to the pot and stir so that all of the grains are coated in butter. Add 1 cup of stock and cook until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid, stirring constantly. Once the rice starts to look dry, add more stock and continue stirring. Repeat the process until the rice has reached a creamy consistency; the rice should be tender and firm, but not crunchy. If you run out of stock before the rice is fully cooked, continue the process using water.
- Slice the asparagus into small pieces and add to a pan with a drizzle of oil. Sauté until the asparagus is bright green in color, and then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Cut the chard into thin strips and repeat the process above. Set aside.
- Blanch the peas: Boil water in a small pot, add the peas and let them cook for 3 minutes. Strain, and rinse in ice water. Set aside. Note: if you're using frozen peas, they're likely already cooked, so you can skip this step!
- Add 1 cup peas and all of the asparagus to the rice and mix together.
- Prepare the pesto: add scapes, olive oil, peas and pine nuts to a food processor and blend until you've reached a smooth, spreadable consistency. Add more oil as you see fit.
- To serve, place a generous serving on risotto on a plate and top with a pile of chard. Drizzle the pesto on top.