Monday, May 14, 2012

I Take Back All Those Bad Things I Said About Ina Garten

Well sort of. At least I take back returning her cookbook, a really nice wedding gift that I decided to trade in for a Wusthof pairing knife. I probably should have kept it because it turns out her food is delicious, even if she is a bit of an ingredient snob, a trait I find to be slightly obnoxious. 

Yes, I understand, better ingredients mean better dishes. That being said, who can afford expensive olive oil and imported cheeses. Also, some of us don't have all day to make our own chicken stock. Some of us just buy it in a box at the grocery store. Anyways, that's the end of my rant because let me tell you: even with regular old olive oil, American made mascarpone cheese, and store bought chicken stock, Ina's Spring Green Risotto is amazing. The only changes I made were to switch out the asparagus for zucchini and summer squash, as Alex is not a fan of asparagus. Otherwise, this is classic Ina.

Spring Green Risotto (inspired by Ina Garten)
Serves 4
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup and 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium summer squash, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (Ina says "good" olive oil, I say use what you have, if you can't afford the best, don't stress about it) and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks 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 2/3 cup white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock (again, Ina says, "preferably homemade" chicken stock, I say, get over yourself), 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.

Blanch the peas in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water.

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the peas and add it to the risotto with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

In a medium pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the zucchini and squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until tender and lightly browned.

Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of wine and mascarpone (Ina says "preferably Italian," I say gimme a break, use what you find in the store, mine was handmade in Vermont, it was delicious) together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Stir in the zucchini and squash. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.


  1. She can be such a snob... but she does make some good food. This looks super springy and perfect for a rainy day like today!

  2. I wish I liked risotto because the rest of the ingredients sound fabulous! I actually happen to love Ina. I can get wrapped up in her show if it happens to be on when I'm flipping through the channels.

  3. fine way suggest the dish really amazing............