I didn’t take any pictures while I was making this risotto. It’s not very pretty up until the end and I wasn’t too sure exactly how this would turn out.
In the end this ended up being exactly what I had hoped for – slightly sweet from the peas, just a bit salty from the cheese and subtly acidic from the lemon juice.
I did get stuck using frozen peas and asparagus but I don’t feel bad, since this is (almost) the end of winter and most of the fresh veggies at the grocery store look a lot worse for the wear.
I find risotto to be quick and wholly comforting to make. Just dumping and stirring, dumping and stirring, until you end up with something so comforting it’s like being wrapped in a warm sweater.
Grilled Chicken, Asparagus & Pea Risotto
Serves 2 hungry people
500g chicken breast, sliced
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup arborio rice
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
7 asparagus spears, chopped into 2cm pieces
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 1/2 – 3 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
Salt & pepper to taste
In a medium frying pan over medium-high, heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and add the two garlic cloves. Turn the garlic frequently to brown it a bit on all sides and remove from the pan. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil and the butter in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Chop the roasted garlic and set it aside. Add the onions to the pot and saute gently until they just start getting translucent. Add the garlic and stir.
Season the sliced chicken with salt & pepper and add it to the garlic infused oil in the frying pan. Cook through, turning once, about 7-8 minutes.
Add the rice to the pot and stir until it is thoroughly coated in the oil and butter and it’s just heated through, about 1 minute. I find this helps keep the grains of rice from clumping together. Add the lemon juice and stir until it has been completely absorbed. Start adding the chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring almost constantly.
Once you’ve added 2 cups of the stock, add the peas, asparagus and 1/2 cup more of the stock. If you’re using frozen veggies, you’ll find that the mixture thickens slightly and will take a couple of minutes to return to a simmer. When this addition of stock is almost completely absorbed, test the rice. It should be soft, but not mushy. If there is still a bit of a bite, add the last half cup of stock.
When the rice is done to your liking, remove it from the heat and stir in the parsley and about 3/4 of the cheese. Season to your taste with salt & pepper. Mix the cooked chicken through. Divide among the two plates and top with the remaining cheese.