The act of cooking (and, of course, of eating!) can have a calming effect not unlike one you might achieve with meditation, but not so much if you’re running around your kitchen with many tasks at hand. So, close the door to outside noises, pull up a kitchen stool next to the stovetop, and focus on your risotto. There are a good 20-minutes of slow and mindful stirring in the process, and a comforting dish full of fresh spring flavors to greet you at the end.
Risotto with Spring Greens and Roasted Meyer Lemon
• 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 small Meyer lemons, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced, seeds removed
• 5 cups (40 fl. oz./1.25 l) vegetable broth
• 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
• 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) thinly sliced shallots
• 1 1/2 cups (10 1⁄2 oz./330 g) Arborio rice
• 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) dry vermouth or dry white wine
• 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) fresh shelled peas (from about 2 lb./1 kg pea pods)
• 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) finely grated young pecorino cheese or Parmesan cheese
• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
• 2 cups (2 oz./60 g) lightly packed fresh pea shoots, baby arugula, baby spinach, or baby kale
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with some of the olive oil.
Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer, drizzle with the remaining oil, and roast until lightly browned, 15 minutes. Chop the lemons and set aside.
Heat the broth in a small saucepan or in a large measuring cup in the microwave until steaming hot. Keep warm. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until tender but not browned, 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add the vermouth and cook until the liquid has been absorbed, 1 minute. Add about 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) hot broth and simmer, stirring frequently, until the broth has been absorbed. Repeat with the remaining broth, adding only 1/2 cup of the broth at a time, until all the broth has been added and the rice is just tender, about 18 minutes. During the last 8 minutes of cooking, add the peas.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the
risotto among 4 shallow bowls. Sprinkle some of the roasted lemon on top of each portion. Garnish each bowl with a tangle of pea shoots and serve. Serves 4.
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Vegetarian by Ivy Manning