Do yourselves a favor and don’t wait as long I did to make this risotto! Seriously, I put off making this May Barefoot Bloggers recipe for an entire month because I just wasn’t thrilled with the idea of risotto surrounded by a bunch of veggies but this recipe was such a pleasant surprise.  I paired it with a highly modified version of the other BB recipe for the May, Grilled Herb Shrimp, and the shrimp really rounded out the meal.  As all of Ina’s recipes do, the full risotto recipe makes a lot (6 meal servings rather than the 4 Ina suggests) but neither of us are complaining about having leftovers for lunch for the next couple of days.  And even though the recipe name suggests that it’s a spring recipe, all of the ingredients are available year-round; they just happen to be less expensive this time of year.  Really though like I said, don’t wait to make too long to make this – you’ll regret it like I did!

Many thanks to Kimberly from Indulge and Enjoy for choosing the risotto and to Penny of Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen for choosing the shrimp recipe for May’s BB choices!

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Spring Green Risotto
source: adapted from Ina Garten, Back to Basics

1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped fennel
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
5 cups simmering chicken stock or broth
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese or creme fraiche
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel 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 white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock or broth, 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.

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

When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. 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.

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Grilled Herb Shrimp
source: highly adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!

1 pound large shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined (see note)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, small-diced
2 tbsp minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp good olive oil
a couple squeezes of lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Skewer the shrimp.  I use 3 or 4 shrimp on a 12-inch skewer for dinner. Heat a grill with coals and brush the grill with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking.  Grill the shrimp for only 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

Note: You can leave the tails on or remove them before grilling.

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