I had one more recipe of Curtis’s I really wanted to try but never got the chance while he was out ‘assigned’ chef for I Heart Cooking Clubs.


asparagus and parmesan risotto

Y’all know how much I love risotto so I couldn’t pass this one up.  Seems like every time I went to make it I didn’t have one of the ingredients.  THIS time every thing came together.  YUM!

About 8 cups store-bought vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Tble dried thyme leaves {I didn’t have any fresh}
2 cups Arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 pounds thin asparagus, woody ends removed, stalks cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler, for garnish
Bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in the mircowave and keep warm.
Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat and  sauté shallots, garlic, and thyme leaves until the shallots are tender but not browned. Add the rice and sauté just long enough to  coat with the oil.Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes,or until it is absorbed.

Add the hot veggie stock 3/4 cup at a time stirring after each addition until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rise is al dente

Add the asparagus cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove the pan  from the heat.  Add the butter, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and mascarpone cheese and stir until the butter has melted and the cheeses are just incorporated. Add the parsley, mint, and lemon.juice.  season the risotto generously with salt and pepper.

Garnish with the shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve.
Curtis’s risotto was a beautiful white with the green asparagus shining through.  My veggie stock was really dark so the risotto is very dark.  But it was full of flavor.  The  mascarpone, which I would NEVER have thought of using, added a certain sweetness to the risotto.  And the big shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano….  nuff said!   I think I could live off of this risotto.
The recipe is from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.  Page 133}  You can find the original recipe his website as well.
Want more POTLUCK?  Visit IHCC.




This week’s theme – Rice is Nice – chosen by ME wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I mean, rice, people.  It’s used in all kinds of dishes.  Desserts.  Salads. Sides.  Casseroles.  Why was it so hard to find a rice dish?  Because Ellie has plenty of them.

I thought about a nice rice pudding but I wasn’t in the mood for sweet.  I had just made a salad made with rice .  Then I ran across this risotto recipe.  I love making risotto.  It is such a comfort food.  Rich. Creamy.  Full of flavor.


and since we had just harvested some butternut squash from the garden it was easy to decide.

Arborio rice, white wine, butternut squash, sage leaves, Parm cheese all came together in a love creamy dish.

Ellie called for 1 cup pureed butternut squash so I roasted the squash, cooled it, and pureed it in the blender.  I added a hint of salt to bring out the flavor in the squash.  I also needed a tad more broth for the risotto to be as creamy as I like.  The recipe called for 5 cups, I used 5 1/2.

This was tasty.  The FRESH butternut took the dish just over the top in flavor.

The recipe is from Ellie’s Comfort Food Fix (page 216).  I also found it HERE.

IT’s potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs.  That means we can cook from any chef that the group has used in the past.  This month I chose Yotam Ottolenghi because I haven’t cooked with him very much.  He was the chef back in 2013.  At that time I didn’t have any of his cookbooks.  Now, however, is a different story.  I have PLENTY, on my Kindle, and I am really taking a good look at his recipes.


I chose the Lemon and Eggplant Risotto because this eggplant was begging to be used and I was lusting after some good risotto.

This is not a quick dish to make so don’t start it when you start the rest of your meal.  Start it before.  There are several steps you have to take before you actually start the risotto.

  1. ‘Burn’ an eggplant and then scoop out the pulp.
  2. Dice an eggplant and brown it until it is crispy.
  3. Sautee some onion and garlic.

After the onion and garlic are done then you can add in the wine, rice, and start making the risotto.  But let me tell you, it is worth every step and every dirty pan in the sink.  The sweetness of the eggplant mixed with the tart of the lemon zest and the semi sweetness of the basil is very mouth satisfying.  VERY!!!

Since I don’t have the book I cannot give you a page number in PLENTY, but I found it on The Hungry Goddess.

Visit with IHCC to see what else is on the Potluck table this week.

There is just something about risotto. It’s not easy to make. Well, it’s easy, it just takes a while. All the stirring and adding broth and stirring. But with the right combination of flavors it is well worth the effort. And this risotto was well worth the effort.


This is Julie Shafer’s Risotto with Lemon and Asparagus

Julie says she learned to make risotto as a small girl cooking with her mother, grandmother, and aunts.  While we think of risotto as something fancy, she says it is just a staple of Italian cooking.  She also suggests that this is just a basic recipe and any local, seasonal veggie can be used.

    2 lemons
    2 small bundles asparagus
    1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
    2 tsp unsalted butter
    2 Tbl olive oil
    2 cups Arboio or Carnaroli rice
    2 – 3 quarts homemade or low-sodium store bought chicken broth, heated.

Zest the lemons then juice them and strain the juice.

Prepare the asparagus by peeling {which I did not do} and cutting off the tough ends.  Cut into 1″ pieces and steam to crisp.  {I am not a fan of steamed asparagus so I sauteed mine lightly in a little butter until just done.}

Sautee the onion in butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  The onions should be fragrant and transparent.  Add in the rice and stir until the rice is well coated.  Season with salt and pepper.  {Salt and pepper are NOT in the recipe so I seasoned lightly and then later seasoned to taste.} Cook until the grains are almost clear.

Add the hot broth in to the rice/onion mix one ladle at at time and stir until it is absorbed. Continue this process until the rice is ALMOST creamy.

Add in the lemon juice, zest, steamed asparagus and one last addition of broth.  Cook for one additional minute.

Remove from the heat and add in the Parmesan to taste.  Add additional Salt and Pepper if needed. Let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes then serve.

Garnish with shaved Parmesan (optional)

This was really good.  I think I would use a little less lemon juice next time because I think it tended to overpower the asparagus.  You many not need a full 3 quarts of the broth.  I made 1/2 of the recipe and did not used a full 4 cups.

This is definitely a repeat.  I can imagine how it good it will be with different mushrooms, or maybe some spinach, or even just different cheeses.  It is very adaptable.

The recipe is on page 639 of O’Niel’s One Big Table,  an eclectic  collection of recipes from home cooks around the United States.

I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

This was the last week to cook with Chef Jacques Pepin. It has been quite a fun 6 months trying so many of his wonderful recipes. Some of the dishes I made included:

Looking back I see that most of the dishes I made were sides. And that is usually what I have the most trouble deciding on with meals. Pepin made it easy. So I decided to say goodbye with just one more.


    Risotto with Vegetables

Which was delicious. So full of vegetables it is almost a meal in itself.

    1 cup of chopped peeled asparagus
    1 cup of frozen peas
    1 cup of julienned mushrooms
    1 cup of diced red (or orange) bell pepper
    2/3 cup chopped fennel

all mixed into a creamy risotto.

Pepin does his risotto a different way than I am used to. Usually one adds some broth a bit at a time and stir, stir, stir, stir until the rice is creamy. But Pepin sautees the cup of Arborio rice in butter and olive oil then adds 2 1/2 cups of the broth cooking only about 12 minutes and only stirring 2 or 3 times while keeping it on covered over medium heat. The last cup of broth is added with ALL the veggies {except the fennel which he added earlier} and cooks uncovered for another 5 minutes. This means of course that you aren’t completely tied to the stove cooking the risotto. And then, right before you serve it – add about 1/4 cup grated Parm. Perfect risotto!! And perfectly DELICIOUS.

The recipe is from Pepin’s Jacques Pepin’s Table on page 163. Also, there is a VIDEO where he makes this risotto along with some other dishes.

Stop by the IHCC webpage for more Au Revoir Chef Pepin Dishes.

Risotto seems to be a very popular dish lately. Last week we had a Tomato, Basil, and Parmesan Risotto. This week we made a risotto that we didn’t need to stand and stir for a while. Instead this was a baked risotto. Just 40 minutes after putting a bowl of arborio rice and chicken broth into the oven it was done except for adding the feta, spinach, Parmesan, and pine nuts. It was moist. It was full of flavor and I didn’t have to stir it once.


The saltiness of the feta along with the crunch of the pine nuts made for a wonderful dish. I would advise to check the risotto before the 40 minutes is up. Mine was almost overcooked. Baking the risotto is a perfect way to have risotto and still have time to cook your dinner without having to worry.

I made only 1/2 of the recipe but had plenty for 4 servings.

The recipe is on Donna’s Website. Thanks to Chaya for this lovely risotto pick this week. If you want to join us just leave a comment on Wednesdays with Donna Hay. The recipes for the next two months are there as well as links for the other’s blog posts. Go on over and visit and see how they liked the risotto.

One of my favorite dishes to cook is risotto. At least now that I know how. It took several, and I mean SEVERAL, tries to finally get it right but now it is often in the meal rotation as a side. When it came time for me to pick a recipe for this week I went straight for this risotto.


And I was not disappointed in the flavor. The eggplant, which I fried in a grilling pan, did get a little soggy, but they were flavorful. And the risotto was a little different as it had more wine and some tomato puree in it rather than just wine and broth. I think it was a little heavy and I will try and lighten it up a little next time. But it was good.

The recipe is on page 93 of Donna’s New Food Fast.

What did GAye, Sarah, Kayte, Chaya, and Peggy think? Visit our new website …

This week’s pick, from Kayte, is a mixed mushroom risotto. I love risotto and always look forward to making different ones so when Kayte chose this one I jumped in enthusiastically.


What we have is a lovely seasoned risotto with dried porcini mushrooms as well as a mix of fresh. I used Portobello and white button and then threw in some dried mixed that I had on hand. What’s not to love about this one. A little red wine, a little garlic, some leeks. Yes indeed. LOVED it!!

The recipe is on page 138 of Donna’s modern classics: book 1. Check with

Two weeks ago the group made Veggie Laksa. I really wanted to make it but here in Podunk Laksa paste was not to be found. Lucky for me I travelled south to visit my Babies and just happened to visit a HUGE Asian market – Vinh Phat. It carries everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING anyone would ever need for Asian cooking. I have to admit I didn’t recognize a lot of the products but I found the two I really needed – Laksa Paste and Miso.


I had never had Laksa before. It is a wonderful seasoned paste. Full of flavor and a little spicy. Why haven’t I had that before? The Veggie Laksa, which was Sarah’s choice last week, included sweet potatoes, bok choy, garlic, and snow peas in a rich coconut milk and Laksa broth. Donna said to serve it over Vermicelli noodles. I had also found some of the noodles made from Mung Beans. Altogethr I think I liked it. Next time I would cut the sweet potatoes and boy choy in smaller pieces. The recipe is on Donna’s Website.

Sarah made the Laksa as did Gaye so check out their posts.

Fall started 41 days ago. The season changed and a whole new cornucopia of freshness became available. Pumpkin. Spaghetti Squash. Butternut Squash. Honeycrisp apples. Figs. Just to name a few. So when this week’s theme came up for I Heart Cooking Club – In Season – I knew I would make something with PUMPKIN. Especially since we have piles of pretty little pumpkins left from the garden. Our first time planting pumpkins.


    pumpkin and feta risotto

Creamy, cheesy. Okay, not as creamy as I would have liked but it was cheesy with the Parmesan. And pumpkin-y.

    500g (1 Ib) sweet pumpkin, such as jap or butternut, peeled
    and chopped
    sea salt and cracked black pepper
    51/2 cups (44 11oz) chicken or vegetable stock
    1 tablespoon oil
    2 cups arborio (risotto) rice
    1/4 cup chopped chives
    1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    cracked black pepper
    150g (5 oz) marinated fetta cheese in oil

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). Place the pumpkin on a baking tray and toss with oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until soft.
To cook the risotto, place the stock in a saucepan over medium heat and allow to simmer. Place the oil in a separate saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute or until translucent. Add the stock, 1 cup (8 fl oz) at a time, and stir until absorbed. Continue until all the stock has been used and the rice is creamy. To serve, stir the chives, parmesan, pepper and pumpkin through the risotto. Top with the fetta and its oil. Serves 4.
Okay, not bad, but not a repeat. I don’t know why, but it didn’t really have much flavor. I think I’ll try it again with butternut squash. It is sweeter than the pumpkin.

This recipe came fro Donna’s new food fast page 94.

Hop on over to I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what else is “In Season”

I learned how to make risotto about two years ago thanks to French Fridays with Dorie. It was good but it wasn’t easy. It was Stir. Stir. Stir. I have even made BAKED risotto. Eer since then when I find a new way to make risotto I feel obligated to try it. So when I found this recipe for microwave risotto….. You have to be kidding!! You HAVE to stir, stir, stir risotto. Microwave risotto?? Yes, indeed!! AND it turned out rather well. And creamy. Really!



    1 tablespoon butter .
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    1 14 1/2-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
    1 cup arborio rice
    1 medium-size carrot, peeled and finely chopped
    1/2 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
    1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
    1/2 cup frozen corn {My only change}
    1/3 cup plus 2 to 4 tablespoons water .
    1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
    1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. In I-quart microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on high (100 percent) 20 to 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in onion, cover with lid or vented plastic wrap, and microwave on high 1 minute.
2. Stir broth and rice into onion mixture; cover and microwave on high 6 minutes. (If microwave does not have carousel, rotate dish halfway through cooking.) Stir in carrot and red pepper; Cover and microwave on high 4 minutes.
3. Stir peas, 1/2 cup water, and the basil into rice mixture; cover and microwave on high 4 minutes; Stir, cover, and microwave on high 2 more minutes.
4. Stir in Parmesan, garlic, and black pepper; cover and set aside 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is cooked, but slightly chewy. If necessary, stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons water to give risotto a creamier consistency.

Recipe is from “Country Living” magazine May 1995.

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