Baked garlic parmesan risotto with asparagus, Oreo mint ice cream mini-pies

May good luck be your friend in whatever you do and may trouble be always a stranger to you. — Irish blessing

Baked garlic parmesan risotto with asparagus

Perfect dish for a meatless Friday Lenten Special.

Cook’s notes: Risotto is unbelievably creamy, velvety, buttery, savory, salty and pure addicting – just try to stop at one spoonful! It’s a northern Italian rice dish slow cooked in a broth until a delectable creamy consistency. Never fails to impress and a perfect spring side dish, This oven version is 100% foolproof and doesn’t require constant stirring. Do not rinse Arborio rice as it’s important to retain the starch for the dish. One cup frozen petite peas thawed could be substituted for asparagus pieces. The recipe could serve 6 but since its so addicting maybe just four.

Recipe adapted carlsbadcravings.com and it’s gluten free!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1/4 cup shallots finely chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1- 1/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice

4 cups low sodium chicken broth, warmed

1/2 bunch of asparagus, remove woody ends and cut into pieces

1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 teaspoon each dried basil and parsley flakes

3 tablespoons dry white wine

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Optional lemon zest

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Increase heat to medium high and saute shallots 3 minutes.

Add the rice and stir until well coated with butter and edges begin to look translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds.

Add 4 cups warm chicken broth and seasonings to rice mixture. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid and transfer to oven. Bake for 18 minutes or until rice is the softer side of al dente and broth is absorbed.

Blanch asparagus pieces for 1 minute, drain to an ice bath and drain again.

When rice is tender, remove from oven and stir in 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon butter, 3 tablespoons dry white wine, blanched asparagus pieces, lemon juice and 1 cup Parmesan Cheese. Stir vigorously until smooth. Place back in oven uncovered and cook 5 minutes more. Add more Parmesan cheese right before serving. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Optional lemon zest over the top.

To reheat use a little more chicken broth as rice will absorb the liquid.

Risotto variation add-ins

Tomatoes and basil risotto

Spinach and pea risotto

Vegetable risotto with zucchini, bell peppers, peas and spinach

Shrimp, lemon, herb risotto

Oreo mint ice cream mini pies

Recipe makes 6 mini pie servings

Ingredients:

1 package Mint Oreo Cookie-you will use 2 rows of cookies

2 tablespoons of butter

Mint chocolate chip ice cream  

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor break cookies in half and pulse several times until cookies are crumbled with no chunks. Add in 3 tablespoons melted butter. Mix well

Divide cookie crumbs between individual oven safe serving containers. Bake cookie pie shells @350 degrees for 5 minutes. Cool.

Beat 1 cup heavy cream with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Coarsely chop 5 Mint Oreo cookies and  fold into whipped cream. 

Place 1 small scoop of chocolate mint ice cream into each baked cookie pie shells. Place a dollop of whipped cream mixture on top. Push one Mint Oreo into each of  the ice cream mini pies before serving..

Twice a month The Seasonal Plate food column will highlight dishes inspired by the changing seasons. My passion for travel, poetry, writing, exploring new cuisines, trying recipes and cooking  have been inspiration for the recipes I have published on my blog http://www.sockfairies.blogspot.com.

Questions/comments at: theseasonalplate@outlook.com

Sue Ready is a writer, poet and former middle school teacher. She is the president of the Northwoods Arts Council in Hackensack.

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