A new spring season is here and I picked up our first box of produce from Five Leaves Farm on Wednesday. I’m even more excited than usual this year for two reasons. First, I have volunteered for a working share at the farm and hope that some of Ben’s green thumb will rub off on me. Second, a good friend in Greenville (and one of her good friends) have joined a CSA for the first time and we look forward to sharing recipes and good food throughout the season! This week’s box included arugula, spinach, beet greens, radishes,  green onions, sugar snap peas, and mint. The first dish of the season was an unbelievable arugula and snap pea risotto that I made up as I went along. I’ll give you the general idea here and will try to formalize the recipe for a posting later this week. (I guess that means we will have to eat it again…oh, the sacrifice!)

I used general techniques for risotto which included a simmering pot of hot vegetable broth beside the risotto pot. I first sauteed about half of a large onion in two tablespoons of butter. I then added a cup of brown rice (pre-boiled for about 8 minutes) and stirred until well-coated with the butter and shiny – probably about two minutes.  Throw in about a half cup of good white wine and stir until absorbed/evaporated. Then start adding the broth a half cup or so at a time, stirring frequently until absorbed and the risotto is the right texture. It should still have a bit of chew to it similar to good al dente pasta. This will probably take 20-30 minutes and about 3 cups of broth. I then added a grind or two of pepper and a big handful of fresh, shredded parmesan cheese along with another half tablespoon of butter. Once that was fully mixed up and melted,  I tossed in the pre-blanched snap peas and 2-3 cups of fresh arugula torn into bite-size pieces.  (It was about half of the CSA bag for those who are reading.)  Beautiful, rich flavors were the result!

Risotto can be a time-consuming, high maintenance dish. I especially enjoy making it when I have friends in the kitchen with me.  I start the stirring with a half cup of wine for the dish, a cup for me, and a cup for my friend.  The work is made lighter with an extra arm and good conversation. The result is a reasonably healthy, decadent dish that is great for sharing with friends.