Saturday, April 13, 2013

Friday Night Feasts: Risotto with Green Peas and Arugula

There are few things in life that are as wonderful as good friends, wine, and food. If you can think of something better please let me know.... and then I will slowly remove myself from your life because you are idiot.

It's been quite awhile since I have posted a FNF blog.... but last night's dinner was worth finally pulling myself out of that rut! Rich and I had fabulous new friends over for dinner with food and wine to seriously brag about. We of course started the evening with some brie and fig jam... though we only had a few bites of cheese before Ollie decided that we had already had enough and ate the whole brick of brie right off of the coffee table. He was just worried about our hearts....Yup, that's how dinner at our house goes sometimes.

On the menu was heirloom tomato salad with buratta cheese and a balsamic reduction, braised chicken with lemon and olives, roasted carrots, brussels sprouts, braised leeks, and risotto with green peas and arugula.  I have three new loves right now. Green peas (in case you haven't heard) arugula, and Gwenyth Paltrow's new cookbook "It's All Good," which seems to have some mixed reviews, but my girl crush on her matches my love for her healthy recipes, so I really don't care. The braised chicken and the risotto were both recipes from her new book with only a few very slight changes and they were delicious!

1 quart vegetable stock
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 leek, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup arborio rice
2 cup arugula
1 cup fresh english peas (you can also use frozen peas)
Salt and pepper

First off, I was a little bit skeptical to use vegetable stock to make risotto. It just isn't the way. You use chicken stock. You just do. Period. Though, I must admit, you could have paid me in fine wine and I still would not have been able to tell the difference. This whole vegetarian thing is getting easier by the day.

In a small saucepan, warm the vegetable stock and keep it warm over low heat.
In another medium saucepan, sauté the onions and leeks over medium heat in two tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt and cook for about 1-2 more minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Next, add the rice and the lemon juice and stir. Cook until the lemon juice is evaporated and then add in a ladle full of veggie stock. STIR STIR STIR! Keep stirring the rice until all of the stock is absorbed and then add another ladle full of warm stock and ... you guessed it, keep stirring! Continue this process (while stirring the whole time) until the rice is tender, but still has a little bit of a bite. Stir in the peas, arugula, lemon zest, and some fresh pepper and sea salt.

I served this with braised chicken legs with olives and lemon and lots of roasted veggies. Success!

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