Spring Risotto with Carrot & Asparagus Salad

On top of everything else in the world making us feel a little crazy, nothing can ever beat Denver weather. On Saturday we were in shorts and t-shirts getting sunburned and by Sunday morning the ground was covered in snow. During this time of year, we like to have meals that can help us transition with the weather and this Spring Risotto does just that. The warm, cheesy rice makes the dish feel warm and savory while the carrot and asparagus salad adds a much needed cooling crunch to the dish. Hopefully you are in better weather than us, either way we know this dish will satisfy.

risotto recipe, spring risotto, spring and pea risotto, rice

Spring Risotto with Carrot & Asparagus Salad 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 10 minutes    Cooking Time: 35 minutes      Total Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients for Risotto: 

  • 2 tbs butter 
  • 1/2 cup white onion, small dice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 6 cups warm chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup fresh peas (or frozen peas thawed) 
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbs shaved Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Ingredients for Carrot Salad: 

  • 6 stalks asparagus, chalky ends removed 
  • 2 large carrots, peeled 
  • 2 tbs olive oil 
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon  
  • 1 tbs fresh dill, minced 
  • 1 scallion, cut on the bias into thin strips 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Start by making the carrot salad: use a vegetable peeler to create thick ribbons of asparagus and carrot. Toss them in a medium mixing bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. 
  2. To make the risotto, heat a large, deep pan over medium high heat. Add the butter to the pan along with the onion, shallot, and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes or so. Add the rice to the pan and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until the rice begins to caramelize and smelly nutty. Add the wine to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon until it is absorbed. Begin adding the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, and stirring with a wooden spoon until it is completely absorbed before adding another 1 cup. It will start to look very velvety and expand quite tremendously. 
  3. When you add the final 1 cup of chicken stock, add the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and peas to the pan. Stir to combine everything and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a large bowl with the remaining 2 tbs Parmesan and carrot salad on top. 

Shaved Carrot Salad

Today we are giving the humble carrot a major glow up. We are in the camp that carrots are mostly a filler ingredient. In a mirepoix for our Short Ribs Bourguignon? Sure. As the star of their own show? Not so much. We wanted to challenge ourselves when brainstorming our Valentine’s Day menu to think outside the box of what a salad can be. Lettuce in the winter can be such a drag and oftentimes we need a mixup from yet another kale salad. Insert the carrot. We bought whole rainbow carrots, shaved them into thick strands, and served them with a lemony, mustardy vinaigrette. For garnish we used the fronds of the carrot stems which add a nice herby note to the salad. Overall, a bright side dish to complement the decadence of our short ribs and French Onion Soup this Valentine’s Day.

Shaved Carrot Salad

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 large carrots whole carrots, ideally in a variety of colors (use 8+ small carrots)
  • 1/3 cup leaves from the carrot stems, roughly chopped

For Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon- juice and zest
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash the carrots really well to remove any dirt from the carrots or their stems. Pat dry with a kitchen towel .
  2. Make the dressing. Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium-large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Use a knife to cut the stems and leaves off the carrots. Remove the fronts from the stems and roughly chop the fronds. Add to the dressing bowl.
  4. Use a vegetable peeler to gently remove the outer layer of each carrot. Discard the outer layer. Use the vegetable peeler to shave the carrots into large ribbons. Toss the carrot ribbons into the dressing bowl. Taste again and season with salt and pepper, accordingly.
  5. Serve chilled or at room temperature.