Saffron + Mixed Vegetable Risotto

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I love, love, love risotto.   We make it on all special occasions, including valentine's day so for me, it must be served with champagne.  It's so satisfying I don't need any appetizers or side salads or anything.  (Maybe just dessert!)  

Makes 2-3 servings.

Saffron Risotto with Vegetables + Sausage

4 cups vegetable stock

10 asparagus spears, chopped

4 oz green beans, chopped

8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, diced

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1 scant teaspoon saffron threads 

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup grated asiago cheese

1 fresno chile, seeded, diced

2 link precooked sausage, sliced (I suggest applegate's fire roasted red pepper poultry sausage)

s + p

Blanche asparagus and green beans in boiling water for 60 seconds.  Drain and place in ice bath to shock the vegetables.  Set aside.  (Separately reserve asparagus tips for garnishing if you like.)

Saute mushrooms in a small splash of olive oil for 3 minutes.  Set aside with vegetables. 

In a large pan, melt butter.  Add onion and saute 5 minutes.  Add rice, stir to coat in rice, cook 1 minute.  Add wine and cook until evaporated.  Stir in saffron.  Begin adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time.  Stirring constantly until each 1/2 cup has evaporated.  Then add another cup, stir, evaporate, repeat.  Continue until there is no more stock and rice is soft.  This should take about 20 minutes.   

Stir in cheese., vegetables and sausage.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with asparagus tips.

Mushroom + Asparagus Risotto

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Valentine's Day is fast approaching people!  (What happened to January?)  I make risotto every year.  What will you make for your loved one?  

If you decide to make this risotto you can either make the mushroom stock or use an already made one, it's up to you.  The Crescenza cheese is also sometimes called Stracchino cheese.  It is a soft, young cheese from Italy that tastes like milk. 

Makes 2 large servings.

Mushroom + Asparagus Risotto

for the stock

4 cups water

1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms

for the risotto

About 12 spears asparagus, chopped

1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned, sliced

drizzle olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup aborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

s + p

3 oz Crescenza Cheese

For stock:

 In a small pot, bring to a boil water, dried porcini mushrooms and stems from the 1/2 lb of cremini muchrooms.  Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat.  Let sit for about 20 minutes and then strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Discard solids and set liquid aside.

For risotto:

 Blanche Asparagus for 1 minute and set aside.  

In a pan, saut√© mushroom caps (stems on if you didn't need them to make above stock) in a drizzle of olive oil for 3 minutes.  Set aside with asparagus.  

In a pan, cook shallot in butter about 2 minutes until soft and clear.  Add aborio rice and stir to coat in butter about 1 minute.

Add white wine and evaporate then begin adding mushroom stock 1/2 cup at a time.  Stir slowly, letting rice absorb stock before adding more.  This will take about 20-25 minutes.  After all stock has been added rice will appear creamy and be just cooked.  

Stir in mushrooms and asparagus, reserving some asparagus tips for garnish.  Add parmesan cheese and an optional 1/2 tablespoon of butter.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Spoon into bowl and top each with asparagus tips and crescenza cheese.