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Risotto with Fava Beans, Asparagus and Peas

Risotto with Fava Beans, Asparagus and Peas

Serves 6

TO DRINK: Sauvignon Blanc


1 1/2 pounds fava beans in the pod
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths
4 cups good quality vegetable or chicken stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
3 ounces diced fresh ham (optional)
1 1/2 cups Italian arborio or vialone nano rice
1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup shelled fresh English peas
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper


Peel the outer husk of the fava beans and discard.  Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the fava beans and boil 30 seconds.  Drain, cool the beans and peel the outer bright green shell.  Discard the shells and reserve the beans.

Bring 2 cups salted water to a boil, add the asparagus and boil until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.  Drain and reserve the asparagus and water separately.  Place the asparagus water, vegetable or chicken stock and 2 cups water in a saucepan over low heat.

In a large deep saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and cook the onions and ham until the onions are soft, 10 minutes.  Add the rice and stir until the rice is coated with oil and just begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine is almost absorbed.  Add  a ladle of hot stock and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding hot stock , stirring constantly, until the rice is just tender and not chalky,  l8 to 22 minutes.  Add the peas and continue to add the stock for an additional 2 minutes, until the rice is creamy and just beyond the chalky stage.  If you run out of chicken or vegetable broth, use hot water.

Remove the pan from the heat, add another ladleful of stock , butter, cream, asparagus, fava beans, half of the Parmigiano, salt and pepper.  Stir quickly, cover and let sit covered off the heat for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, stir the risotto.  Serve immediately garnished with the remaining Parmigiano.