This is a perfect way to celebrate springtime. Make it when Asparagus and Fava Beans appear at the market. I like to serve it with a crisp dry white wine from Sonoma Valley, like Gunlach Bundschu’s Gewertztraminer or Spann Vineyard’s Chard-Viognier. A friend made this when we were away at Dillon Beach on Tomales Bay, CA. It is delicious and comforting when the weather is not quite warm enough, but Spring is in sight. —cafetrix
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe will benefit exponentially from fresh, local ingredients, but in Central PA where we’re still whittling down our cold-weather greens stash, the artichokes and asparagus for this recipe had to be trucked in, Meyer lemons are nowhere in sight, and the fava beans available -- preserved organically -- were mud brown, not springy green. But in spite the trials of my locale, this recipe yielded a flavor-popping risotto. - cheese1227 —The Editors
Asparagus, tips only, sliced in half
Fava Beans, peeled, and sauteed
Spring Leeks, finely chopped
Fennel Bulb, finely chopped
Artichokes, baby, par-boiled and quartered
Meyer Lemon, juice of and zest of
White Wine, Sauvignon Blanc
Chicken Broth, heated
Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Basil Leaves, Chiffonade
Parsley, finely chopped
Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
The Preparation and Cooking
In This Recipe
Cut the asparagus on the diagonal, leaving only the tips and set aside. (Save the rest for another dish of sautéed vegetables or frittata.) Peel the baby artichokes of their outer flower petals and quarter them. Put them in water with a squeeze of lemon so they don’t oxidize. Par boil them to take out some of the bitterness, then add them at the end.
Peel the fava bean’s thick sheath or outer peel away, and then you par boil them for a minute and it will be easier to peel the tight skin. It is worth the extra work, they are delicious and add a distinct flavor. After peeling or par-boiling, sauté the favas in a little garlic for just a minute or two, just until they brighten up in color. Put in a cuisinart bowl, pulse and set aside. Wash the leeks, finely chop the leeks and fennel the same size. Zest the lemon into a bowl, set aside. Thinly slice the fresh herbs and set aside.
Pour the broth into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. (You will need this nearby while cooking the dish, adding as you go until it is incorporated and the risotto is creamy in texture.)
Heat a large skillet or your largest 2” deep sauté pan. Heat sauté pan to medium-warm, add 1/2 the olive oil, salt and pepper, then, add the leeks and fennel, sauté until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the rice is completely heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer for a few minutes before adding a ladleful of broth. Stir for 3 to 4 minutes until the broth is absorbed or incorporated. Reduce the heat to low and continue to add the broth a ladleful at a time, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding the next.
When the risotto becomes creamy, cohesive and a little al dente, add the asparagus, and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Stir in the remaining broth until it is incorporated and the kernels are al dente at the center and creamy on the outside, 30 minutes in all. Stir in the parmesan cheese, lemon zest and chopped basil or parsley and heat through, about 5 minutes. The risotto should be creamy and loose, but not runny. It should not be clumpy, if so, add a bit more liquid and incorporate until it is smooth. Finally, add the pureed fava and garlic mixture until completely melded together and risotto starts to turn a little green. Add some Parmesan cheese at the stove, then remove from the heat and transfer to a warmed serving dish. Serve more Parmesan Reggiano at the table for your guests. Bon Appetito!