Spring Green Mascarpone Risotto
1 1/2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 - 3 leeks depending on size)
1 cup chopped fennel
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 - 5 cups simmering chicken stock
1 pound thin asparagus (cut diagonally in 1-1/2 inch lengths - discard the tough ends)
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and sauté 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 chicken 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.
Meanwhile, blanch the cut asparagus 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 asparagus and add it to the risotto with 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.
Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture, plus the parmigiano-reggiano and chives.
Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and parmigiano-reggiano.