CLASSIC pasta risotto with a variety of vegetables









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Risotto combines so simply, cleanly and tastefully with a variety of vegetables: so here in the spirit of modernism, is sort of a modular approach which we think will work well for whatever vegetable is your choice (or choices).

Here are some basic options:

(a) asparagus
(b) peas
(c) zucchini
(d) carrots
(e) celery

This is a simple risotto, and now you can vary it from time to time by your selection of the vegetables. you are going to use. we like the addition of herbs to give the risotto a little more zest.


  • two cups of Arborio rice (or the two other approved varieties)
  • six cups of chicken stock
  • one small onion, finely diced
  • three cloves of  garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • four tablespoons of olive oil
  • one-half cup dry white wine
  • one tablespoon parsley
  • one tablespoon basil
  • one-half cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • two tablespoons of butter
  • salt and pepper

The vegetables:

(a) asparagus: one and a half pounds of asparagus. Break off the lower stems, and then cut horizontally in three-quarter inch of length pieces.
(b) peas:
one and one-half cups shelled fresh peas or a ten-ounce package of frozen peas.
(c) zucchini: four medium size zucchini.
Wash and scrub the zucchini. Dice in about half-inch squares (or thinly sliced)
(d) carrots:
one and one-half cups peeled, finely diced carrots
(e) celery:
one and one half cups diced celery

Cooking the vegetables:

(a) parboil the cut pieces of asparagus for about three minutes.
(b) parboil the fresh or frozen peas just enough so they are no longer firm, but not soft.

to cook: (a more detailed and elaborate description of the risotto cooking technique can be found at how to cook risotto).

Bring the stock to a slow simmer in a pan next to the risotto pan. In a thick-bottomed pan (the risotto pan), over medium-high heat: add the olive oil. Add the onion (and garlic if you choose). Cook until soft.

Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated with the oil. Add the white wine. Cook and stir until it is absorbed by the rice, about two minutes. Add salt. Now add the hot stock, ladle by ladle, only adding another ladle when the previous ladle of liquid has been absorbed, stirring almost all of the time.

At the ten minute mark, add the (c) the zucchini, or (d) the diced carrots, or (e) the diced celery. (not the peas nor the parboiled asparagus).

Continue adding the ladles of stock until the rice is properly done: twenty minutes or so. Determine proper doneness by tasting regularly. When it is properly al dente, with a little creaminess, it is ready.

Just a  minute or two  before it is al dente, stir in the (a) parboiled asparagus or (b) peas if that is the option.

Take off the heat. Now, also stir in the parmesan, the parsley and basil, and the two tablespoons of butter. Let it sit, covered, for three or four minutes. Serve on warmed platters.



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