Spring has to be my favorite season. I love seeing the first leaves start to sprout on an empty tree and how my backyard transforms into this sea of green. Spring also brings on cravings for Risotto. There has to be at least fifty different ways to prepare Risotto..so far I've made three versions but this one has stayed my favorite.
I got the idea for this recipe from a Barefoot Contessa episode. Yes, I watch a lot of Food Network and other non-vegan cooking shows. Seeing a recipe that isn't vegan doesn't make me feel like it isn't possible to make. It's very easy to take any recipe and turn it vegan. I did just that with this by changing the butter to Earth Balance, Parmesan to Soy Parmesan and omitting the mascarpone cheese. I hope no one feels limited on what they can eat as a vegan. It is still possible to eat almost everything you ate before you made the change.
* 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
* 1 1/2 tablespoons Earth Balance Butter
* 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
* 1 cup chopped fennel
* 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
* 2/3 cup dry white wine ( or veggie stock )
* 4 to 5 cups simmering veggie stock ( or Better than Bouillon Chicken Stock )
* 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
* 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Soy Parmesan, plus extra for serving
* 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving
1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the veggie stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
2. When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, add the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.
3. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice plus the soy Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more soy Parmesan cheese.