Risotto with Asparagus, Peas and Ramps

Adapted fromĀ Small Plates: Appetizers as Meals

If you are still reading, then perhaps I’ve not scared you off at the mention of ramps. Ramps are similar to young garlic or green onions and they are one of springs first treasures. Currently trendy in restaurants, ramps can be found in the early spring at farmer’s markets. I was lucky to find myself in posession of a small bag of them courtesy of my neighbors, who picked them at their West Virginia home. This dish embodies spring. It’s perfect for the whole family because it can be easily deconstructed for the little ones (see tips below and photograph, right).

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, warmed
  • 2 cups petite green peas
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh ramps
  • In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the asparagus and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Toss until asparagus is bright green and crisp tender, just a few minutes. Watch asparagus very carefully as not to overcook it! Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan (I like to use a rather deep and wide soup pot for this task), heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter. Cook the shallots until tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and toss to coat with the shallots, butter and oil. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pepper and 1 cup of the warm broth. Stir and cook over low heat until all broth is absorbed. Add another cup of broth, stirring every once in a while. As the broth becomes absorbed into the rice, add another cup of broth until all the broth is used. This process should take about 20 to 25 minutes. Rice should be al dente. Add the peas, asparagus and cheese. Stir over low heat for another minute, then remove from heat. Top with ramps and serve.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. If you don’t have ramps, use chives instead. Ramps are not terribly easy to find and they are also pricey. You will only need about an ounce, so if you find them there is no need to break the bank.
  • 2. I almost always use frozen peas. They are truly the best! Be sure they are thawed for this recipe. You can either set them on the counter until thawed or microwave them for a minute or two in a glass bowl.
  • 3. This is a very easy dish to decontruct for a child (see photo, right). Once the last of the broth is absorbed, add only the cheese and stir. I served my toddler the rice and cheese alone with a side of asparagus and peas. If you have “separators,” this is the best way to serve the dish. The creamy rice is like a sophisticated mac and cheese!
  • 4. Despite serving this on a weeknight, I couldn’t resist enjoying it with a glass of sauvignon blanc. Perfection.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4


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