Milanese Risotto Primavera

Every mouthful will delight the diner with risotto made with fresh spring vegetables.


  • 1 container chicken stock (32 ounces)
  • A big pinch saffron
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/3 pound pancetta or guanciale, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 pound thin asparagus, sliced on an angle
  • 1/3 cup fresh or thawed frozen organic peas
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and sliced or torn basil, for garnishing


In a small saucepan, bring the stock, 1 cup water and the saffron to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer.

In a large saucepan, heat the EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta (or guanciale) to render the fat. Add the carrot, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the rice, then stir in the wine and cook to evaporate. Begin adding the stock a few ladlefuls at a time, stirring vigorously with each addition, and cook until the rice is al dente, about 18 minutes. Add the asparagus halfway through cooking and add the peas in the last few minutes of cooking.

Stir the butter into the risotto to melt, then stir in the cheese; remove from the heat. Serve in shallow bowls and top with the parsley and basil.

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