Risotto with peas and zucchini rings in spring

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

With spring in the air, many "primavera" dishes will soon be popping up on restaurant menus, and it's a great time to add more fresh vegetable items to your home menu.

The zucchini and peas in this recipe give color, texture and garden-fresh taste to risotto, a dish that can be rich in flavor but here is also low in fat. Feel free to improvise with other vegetables if your market or, better yet, your garden offers more attractive options.

Spring Risotto with Peas and Zucchini

(Preparation and cooking time 1 hour)

Two 14 1/2-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons butter

1 to 2 large zucchini (1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat broth and 2 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan over low heat; keep warm. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add zucchini; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until zucchini is golden, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer zucchini to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion; cook until soft, 5 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Raise heat to medium. Add rice; cook, stirring, until translucent around edges, about 3 minutes. Add wine; cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Continue to cook, adding 1 cup hot broth at a time (stir until almost all liquid is absorbed before adding more), until rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes total.

Add zucchini and peas; cook until peas are bright green, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter and Parmesan. Serve, topped with more cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: about 347 cal., 10.7 g pro., 52.2 g carbo., 7.9 g total fat, 3.1 g fiber.

The recipe is featured in the April issue of Everyday Food from the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living.

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