I’ve been making a version of this risotto for years. It’s rich and creamy, but still light and full of so many gorgeous seasonal vegetables. Spring veggies always make me so happy. They’re some of the first bits of green to emerge after a dull, grey winter and they always fill me with hope and excitement. What is it about spring vegetables that makes them taste so fresh and… springy? Association and repetition if we’re being honest, but that was meant to be a rhetorical question.
Typically by May I have lots of veggies to harvest from my garden (evidence: this post from one year ago). Not exactly the case this year as I’ve been so busy preparing Soulberri to open that I haven’t had time for much else. (Side note: I CANNOT believe that it is already May and Soulberri will be open any day now.) Earlier this week I managed to sneak a handful of radish seeds into the ground along with a few vegetable transplants I snagged at the grocery store. However my soil needs major amending and the yard needs a clean-up like nobody’s business.
Thanks to a mild winter, I still have some kale, Swiss chard, and a few different lettuces leftover from the fall, not to mention my favorite wild arugula that’s starting to take off like gangbusters again. My usual perennial herbs are coming back, like chives, thyme, oregano, rosemary, lavender, and what appears to be a very large amount of chamomile that reseeded itself from last year. So strange considering I wasn’t able to keep chamomile alive for about 3 solid years in a row. The garden never stops surprising.
I also have rhubarb! It came back from last year and went to flower fast. I trimmed it down in hopes I’ll get more stems to grow. Then I can pair them with the small strawberry harvest I’m expecting from the few healthy plants that are left. And then there’s garlic! I managed to plant many cloves on a warm day in January and they’re looking pretty stellar. So, okay. I totally still have a garden. It’s just not to the extent that I’m used to having by this time of year. As long as I can get a few tomatoes in the ground within the next month, everything will be just fine.
If you can grow your own veggies for this vibrant, springy risotto, the better it will be. It has radishes, asparagus, leeks, and peas – four of spring’s finest offerings. Cooked radishes retain their crunch but their bite mellows out considerably. Asparagus is sweet and green tasting. Leeks pack great oniony flavor, and frozen peas are easy and cheap. Toss in some shredded chicken if you want to add protein, or just enjoy this risotto as the fine vegetarian main that it is.
A risotto is never finished without a few final touches to bring it to life right at the end. Cheese is always essential (although I did nix it completely in this recipe and it’s still SO yummy), and this calls for both parmesan and a scoop of Finlandia Creamy Gourmet Cheese to make it rich and luxurious. Lemon zest wakes everything up and a sprinkle of chopped chives gives it an extra pop of freshness. A dab of Finlandia butter makes it silky and absolutely irresistible.
Dandelion and kale flowers from the garden are optional – but they just make the dish look so darn cute.
So much spring! I’m into it.
This post was made in collaboration with Finlandia butter and cheese. All opinions are 100% my own.
Three Years Ago: Spanish Kale Salad
- 6 tablespoons unsalted Finlandia butter, divided
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock (or more as needed)
- 1 1/2 cups quartered radishes
- 1 1/2 cups chopped aspragus
- 2 teaspoons salt*
- 1/2 container Finlandia Classic Creamy Gourmet Cheese (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from about 1/2 lemon)
- 3/4 cup thawed frozen peas
- freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives, plus more for garnish
- Melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted Finlandia butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and stir until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice and toast for 1 minute, then add white wine. Stir until absorbed, then add about 1/2 cup of stock and continue stirring. Add more stock 1/2 cup at a time once absorbed and continue until you have about 1 cup remaining.
- Add radishes along with another 1/2 cup of stock. Stir until absorbed, then add the asparagus and any remaining stock. Season with salt, then continue stirring until the rice is mostly cooked through and still slightly soupy. Add more stock as needed.
- Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons Finlandia butter along with Finlandia Creamy Gourmet Cheese. Add lemon zest, frozen peas, pepper, parmesan cheese and chives. Stir until creamy, then taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. The rice should be slightly al dente and not too thick.
- Spoon risotto into bowls and garnish with more parmesan cheese and chives. Serve immediately.
- Notes: Total amount of seasoning will depend on the saltiness of your stock. Taste and adjust as needed.