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Kitchen Witch

Welcome Spring Risotto

by Lily

The return of Spring brings us warmer days and new growth in the fields. Flowers bring a splash of color as a herald to the end of winter. Little green shoots pushing out of the dark earth remind us to come out of our darker time and to reach towards the bright sky, to begin our cycles of growth again.

As soon as the ground can be worked, I'm putting my gardening clothes on and getting on my knees to poke seeds into the soil. Then I'm off to the Farmer's Market to bring home a big basket of early spring vegetables: snow peas and snap peas, green onions and green garlic, bagfuls of mixed baby spring greens in an assortment of colors, kale and leeks, and deliciously tender shoots of asparagus.


4 cups vegetable stock or broth
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 leek
6 stalks of asparagus (the thinner the better)
6 green onions
A head of green garlic (this is garlic while still young, before the individual paper-covered cloves form. If you can't find it at a farmer's market, substitute 2-3 cloves of regular garlic)
1/2 pound of shelling peas
8-10 snow peas
1 cup of Arborio rice (must be Arborio, other kinds of rice don't work as well)
1/2 cup of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese (or soy Parmesan)
1 Tbsp each of fresh rosemary, parsley, and basil (1 tsp each of dried if fresh isn't available)
Salt and pepper

I prepare this recipe with mindful attention to every slice of the knife and stir of the spoon. Spring vegetables have a vibrant smell and a crunch as they are cut that delights the senses. There's a lot of energy and vitality in them as they have just emerged from the hibernating earth, an energy that revitalizes our bodies when we ingest it. Think of the determination and energy reserves that a seed needs to have to crack open, push through the darkness and cold, and reach for the sky. As you prepare your food, be mindful that you can be like these vegetables that you are chopping. Welcome in their determined spirit.

  1. Pour stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Keep it at a low simmer as you prepare the vegetables.
  2. Wash the vegetables thoroughly and cut into one-inch pieces. It's very important to clean the leeks thoroughly, as they get dirt in between every layer. I cut them up first and then wash them so the layers are separated and it's easier to get out the gritty bits. Mince the garlic and take the peas out of their pods. You should have a nice pile of vegetables at this point.
  3. In a large saucepan, pour in the olive oil and put over medium heat. Sauté the vegetables until they are just soft. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how thick the vegetables are. Take the pan off the heat and remove half of the vegetable mixture to a separate bowl.
  4. Put the saucepan back over the heat and add the rice. Stir until the rice is coated with the veggie/oil mixture. It's best to use a flat spoon or a spatula for the rice mixture, as you want to make sure you reach every grain throughout the cooking process.
  5. Add one cup of the hot broth and stir continuously until just about all the liquid is absorbed into the rice. Add another half cup of broth and stir until absorbed. Continue adding broth a half-cup at a time until it's all absorbed into the rice. It will puff up and get creamy as you get to the end of the broth. This process can take 20 to 30 minutes. Transformation isn't always quick!
  6. Once all the broth is absorbed, stir in the other half of the vegetables and the cheese. Remove pan from heat and stir in the herbs. Now it's time for a spell:

    Celebrate and herald Spring's rebirth,
    Bright green shoots from rich dark earth,
    Rice to nourish us and to sustain
    As the Wheel does turn again.
    With them changes and possibilities bring,
    Welcome new beginnings, welcome Spring.
    Blessed be.

Serve the risotto right away and enjoy!