Friday, March 29, 2013

barefoot contessa's spring green risotto




For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, I've confessed on many occasions that I'm obsessed with cookbooks.  I can sit for hours reading recipes, looking at beautiful photos, and dreaming of how to improve my food styling skills.  Barefoot Contessa's (Ina Garten) cookbooks are among my favorites.  I adore not only her cookbooks, but also her show on Food Network.  She makes one feel that they can create as beautifully as she does, with her simplistic explanations; yet, creations that are consistently lovely and sophisticated.  Cooking aside, I can't get enough of her and Jeffrey's genuine, sweet, flirtatious kindness for one another. 

Spring Green Risotto is one of my many favorites of Ina's.  When I first discovered this recipe, it was the mascarpone incorporated in it, that jumped out at me.  New to mascarpone in risotto, I thought how perfectly creamy it would make it, and it does not disappoint!  Lemon juice and zest balance the mascarpone nicely, so  no need to think the mascarpone will diminish any of the risotto's savory flavor.






A beautiful, spring green color palette of vegetables highlight this delicious risotto.  Each vegetable's complex flavor compliments the other, to superbly come together and create one of the most delightful risottos you'll ever taste!  Spring Green Risotto's versatility makes it divine as a vegetarian dinner entrée, but just as wonderful as a side next to your favorite fish, meat or poultry.  Should I mention how marvelous it would be added to your Easter menu - instead of the normal scalloped potatoes?! :)

Wishing all my readers a beautiful weekend, and a Happy Easter!

Until next time...mangia!  xox

Carol






Barefoot Contessa's Spring Green Mascarpone Risotto
servings:  4 dinner or 6 appetizer/sides

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 - 3 leeks depending on size)
1 cup chopped fennel (video on how to prepare fennel in Carol's notes)
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 - 5 cups simmering chicken stock
1 pound thin asparagus (cut diagonally in 1-1/2 inch lengths - discard the tough ends)
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted (see cook's tip about peas in Carol's notes)
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

Create the Spring Green Mascarpone Risotto:

Heat the evoo and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the leeks and fennel and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender.  Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter.  Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed.  Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more.  This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, blanch the cut asparagus in boiling, salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente.  Drain and cool immediately in ice water.

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl.  When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture, plus the parmigiano-reggiano and chives.  Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and parmigiano-reggiano.

Carol's notes:

Here is an excellent, short video from myrecipes.com on how to prepare fennel.  This isn't a commonly used everyday vegetable, so thought it would be helpful to see how simple it is to do.  You will need to go one step further and chop the fennel after it is sliced in the video.  Be sure to save your fronds for garnish!    The video is located here.

Did you know fresh peas flavor deteriorates in only one day after picking?  So unless you are using them in 24 hours, a better choice is to use frozen peas in recipes.  -A great cook's tip from America's Test Kitchen.





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82 comments:

  1. we have to agree that Ina is one of our favs on the Food Network. Shes a sophisticated woman who loves the classics. Everything that we have made of hers has been exceptional!

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    1. You are so right, Mr. & Mrs. P! I've never had a failed recipe from her! She just has such a class about her, too, without being snotty. Thanks so much for stopping by, and commenting! Enjoy your weekend!

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    2. This has been my daughter's and my favorite risotto recipe since we first tried it about a year ago - its flavors are amazing!!! Happy to discover your blog today - can't wait to try some things :0) I, too, pass by the bakery section in Wegmans to get the "Just Turkey" lol. Have you tried their German Chocolate Brownies? Wow! I saw Ina made German Chocolate Cupcakes this weekend and want to figure out those Wegmans brownies!!

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    3. Good morning, Klombardoni! I'm so happy you discovered my blog too! Thank you so much for your kind words! ...and I'm thrilled that someone else loves the Wegmans "just turkey"! lol It's the greatest! No, haven't tried the brownies, thank goodness! ...but now you have me wondering! ;} Have a great day!

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  2. This is such a wonderfully-spring-y dish! Your risotto looks perfect, Carol. (Why does mine always look like a glob of lumpy porridge?)

    Ina and Jeffrey have The best marriage - they're almost too cute. :P

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    1. Hi Val! Happy Friday! Here's a little Carol tip: Take your risotto off the heat before it has time to absorb the last ladle of stock. That keeps it creamier. Also, I always reserve the leftover stock, and when I heat up a dish of risotto in the following days, I add some of the reserved stock, so it tastes just as creamy as the first day!

      Ina and Jeffrey are almost too cute, but so genuine, so it's ok. ;} Have a wonderful weekend, and thanks so much for your comment!

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  3. Did you say cookbook-obsessed? :) That makes two of us. Ina's recipes are much loved in my kitchen, too. I have another container of mascarpone that would be perfect for lovely, springy dish. Pretty pictures!

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    1. Unfortunately, or fortunately, yes, Jean! Nigellissima made its way to my doorstep today, as a matter of fact! ;} I can't say enough of this risotto - if you have a container of mascarpone on hand - make it! ...and great with wine! Actually, what isn't great with wine?! Thanks so much for your kind words, and for stopping by!

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  4. Hi, Carol!!! Thanks for commenting on my guest post for Coffee and Crumpets. This green risotto looks very nutritious and delish! I love Ina's recipes as well. Actually, she is one of my favorite food network stars. Great job with the pictures. Buona Pasqua!!!

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    1. Hi Denise! Thanks so much for your kind words! It was my pleasure commenting on your guest post! Buona Pasqua to you as well!!!

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  5. How I love spring vegetables! In risotto, salads or as side dish. This is beautiful! Happy Easter Carol!

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    1. Thank you so much, Rowena! What a pleasure to have you stop by! Happy Easter to you too!

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  6. Carol, I've never made risotta. I think it's time to try it. And this sounds exceptional and I love your tips. I also like Ina. Have a happy Easter. Mom.

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    1. Mom, it's not hard at all...just a little time consuming. You basically have to stand over it for about 30 minutes...but so worth it! xox

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  7. I made risotto once many years ago, I loved it, but a little too time consuming. But maybe I need to make it again, and this is the one I want to make. This looks fantastic! Happy Easter xo

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    1. Thank you so much, Barbara! I hope you do give this a try! It's delicious! A very Happy Easter to you too!!!

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  8. Omg! That looks so good! And lovely shots by the way. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Good evening, Kahkasan! My pleasure sharing something I love! Thanks for your sweet comment on my photos...I continue to practice! :}

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  9. I wish I had a large bowl of this risotto, Carol! Love all the greens for spring!

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    1. Thank you, Laura! The greens in this are the greatest for this time of year!

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  10. I don't think I eat Leeks or Fennels, is it possible to just leave them out and do the rest of the recipe the same? If not, is there something else you recommend to replace? Thank you!!

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    1. Jersey Girl, the leeks and fennel give this dish so much flavor, it would be hard for me to recommend leaving them out. I would probably recommend not to make it, in that case.

      Although it won't taste the same, you could use a mild or sweet onion for the leeks. Celery will have somewhat the same texture as the fennel, but again, no where near the flavor, but you could try that if you'd like. Hope this helps! Thanks for your question!

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  11. Yum! this looks fantastic and your photos and styling are beautiful. You've obviously been a good student!

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    1. Good evening, Chris! Thanks so much for your sweet comment. I continue to try on the photos and styling. It's fun to go back to when I started last July and see the difference. My lighting was horrible! lol Have a great weekend!

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  12. Thanks for bringing this Ina risotto recipe to my attention- I can't think of a better way to use
    spring veggies in a lovely satisfying meal! Happy Easter Carol ;-)

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    1. Happy weekend, Patty! You have such a multitude of fresh veggies in your area available to you right now, this would be perfect! Love that you said satisfying...that it is! Happy Easter to you and your lovely family!

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  13. I love vegetables so much))) Yuor risotto looks so tasty))) I'll prepare it some day))

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    1. Thank you, Elen! You will really enjoy this risotto!

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  14. Her first book is probably the one that started my amazon cookbook craze fifteen years ago. I adore risotto, is such a perfect dish. This is stunning Carol! Love the idea of fennel in it, interesting with all the other flavors. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Happy Saturday, Paula! Her cookbooks are the greatest...that may have been one of my initial ones too! Fennel has such a wonderful flavor. I think people steer away from it thinking it's going to taste like licorice in their dish, but it doesn't at all. This is a great risotto...nice alongside an Easter ham! Thanks so much for stopping by, Paula!

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  15. Full of Spring flavor and looking cooked to perfection! Beautiful dish and I love that last shot of asparagus! Have a great weekend & Happy Easter!

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    1. Thank you so much, Meghan! Do you have any of your bunny butt cupcakes left over? If you do, can I have one? ;} They were adorable! Happy Easter to you too!

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  16. Another yummy picture! I love everything about this dish especially because it can be a side or stand alone. I have never ever made risotto but will now. Everything about it sings spring. Thanks for sharing & Happy Easter!

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    1. Happy Easter, Fran! Thanks so much! You absolutely need to try this. With your Italian heritage, and cooking skills, I'm so surprised you never have!

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  17. I adore risotto Carol! This is sooo gorgeous and I love the bright green colors. Perfect for spring!

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    1. Happy Easter, Jocelyn! Thank you so much for your kind words! Risotto is one of my favorites, too, so versatile!

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  18. Beautiful risotto! I have eaten an entire pan of it... true story. :-) I, too, love my cookbooks! That Ina is amazing!! Every one of her recipes is just plain delicious.

    Happy Easter to you and to yours!! xo

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    1. Hi Kate, Happy Easter to you and your family! Thanks so much for your comment, and yes, I absolutely believe that story...it's not hard to do! ;} I'm so glad I'm not alone in my cookbook obsession! xox

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  19. Hi Carol,

    I couldn't agree more about cookbooks! It not only spruces up my cabinet, but provide delectable comfort onto my palate.

    Love Ina's recipe and I'm sure this was a winner too! Gorgeous photography :)

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    1. Hi Kiran! The cabinet thing is so true...I use them a lot for decor, too! Thanks so much for your sweet comment, and for stopping by!!!

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  20. This is a perfect spring dish...risotto is so comforting and delicious.

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    1. Good evening, Karen! It couldn't be any better for spring, with all the wonderful ingredients so fresh right now! So appreciate you're stopping by! Thanks!

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  21. Love your blog! I'm happy to follow you, you can visit my blog when you find time :)
    http://kitchenista-welcometomykitchen.blogspot.com

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    1. Good morning, Neela! Thank you so much for your kind words...and for becoming my newest follower! So appreciated! I heart my followers!!!

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  22. I just love asparagus and peas and bought both over the weekend. I need to make this! Love Ina recipes, too! And the photos are colors are gorgeous!

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    1. Averie, absolutely you need to! :} Thank you so much for your sweet comment! Hope you had a great Easter!

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  23. I love Ina and Jeffrey too! I want to recreate their Napa vacation :) This dish looks so fresh and delicious, perfect for the asparagus that is so gorgeous right now

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    1. Hi CateyLou! Oh, so do I (Napa)!!! Wasn't Jeffrey adorable in the episode he was in charge of dessert in Napa, and he brought Ina to an old-fashioned ice cream stand and had milkshakes waiting for her? So sweet! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  24. How did I miss this recipe of Ina's? Perfect with all the beautiful asparagus in the market! And I have some arborio rice that I need to use...hooray!

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    1. Good Monday evening, Liz! Yes, it sure is perfect for all the lovely veggies in the markets now...and you can't go wrong with anything from Ina! :} Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  25. Your photos are stunning! I am so overdue for a risotto night, and I LOVE all the fresh greens in this one.

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    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Ashley! If you're overdue, you will love this risotto!

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  26. That is one obsession we share! I could look through them for hours. Sad to say I don't own any of Ina's. Shame on me! Need to fix that asap. This risotto is stunning! Love the idea of mascarpone especially paired with lemon.

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    1. Oh, me too, Reeni! It's so relaxing...and I drift away dreaming of all the things I want to create! You MUST try at least one of Ina's books! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to write your sweet comment! So appreciate it!

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  27. I love a great risotto dish and I adore Ina. Her recipes are always spot on. Your risotto is so lovely for spring, Carol:)

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    1. You are so right, Lora! That's a perfect description of Ina's recipes - I've yet to have one fail. Love seeing you stop by, thank you!!!

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  28. Oh, my dear Carol!!! The more I read your blog the more I wish you lived next door. We could swap cookbooks and have a never ending supply (if you have shelves lined with them like I do and I"m guessing you do!). So many of my books I've purchased, read cover to cover and then read cover to cover again, but I haven't cooked much out of them. I'm working on using my books lately, and I think I actually have this one. LOVE the risotto. All of my favorite flavors, and a dish that I think the whole family would like.
    Your comment tonight made me smile... I had really been doing a good job not worrying about Liv. She's been texting every day and having a fabulous time with beautiful weather. Then... I woke up this morning to the text "I threw up." Then an hour later, "I've thrown up 3 times now". They had to check out of the hotel and she spent the day on the bus, in first aid stations, etc. The teacher called and said she thought Liv was just overtired. I knew that wasn't the case, she handles exhaustion well. It was a bug. She's better now, but my heart has been aching all day!!! They stopped at a place for Philly Cheesesteaks for dinner... she knew she couldn't do it and just had bread. Luckily she learned from her dance teacher who was on the amazing race last season to take things from the breakfast buffet and put them in her bag. She had 2 bananas, boxes of cereal and some bars she brought from home. Combined with the gatorade and sprite the teacher got her she did ok. I'm proud of her, but boy do I really miss her!!!

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    1. Oh, Kim! I hear you! My daughter is 27 now, and I still worry myself silly. Funny, when I left my comment I had no idea about her bug...poor sweet girl, you must have been beside yourself! Thank goodness she's feeling better now so she can enjoy the rest of her trip. Too bad she missed out on the Philly Cheesesteaks! ;}

      Thanks so much for sharing, Kim, I loved reading it!!!

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    2. She'll be home in 8 hours and 36 minutes... not that I'm counting!! :)

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    3. You're too cute, Kim! Have a wonderful weekend listening to Liv tell you all about her trip east! So sweet!!! xox

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  29. What a gorgeous dish! Ina is the best - I have a bunch of her cookbooks!

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  30. This looks wonderful and absolutely perfect for this time of year. I would happily eat this on it's own for dinner!

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    1. Good morning, Mary! Thank you so much! So nice to have you stop by! That's exactly what I did when I made it...it was dinner for several evenings!

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  31. Your pictures are fantastic. I love the bright green risotto, it makes me hunger for SPRING--it's SNOWING TODAY in the Northeast, ugh!--I tend to think risotto can be too heavy, but filled to the brim with veggies surely lightens it up a lot. I love it!

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    1. Hi Ashley! Thank you so much! You're spot on...this is not heavy in the least, and has such a lovely flavor! I'm sorry that it's still snowing up your way! I'm originally from Saratoga Springs, NY...so I remember many winters running into springs. So appreciate you stopping by!!!

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  32. Hi Carol! It sounds like you and I share an obsession for cookbooks! And I love Ina, too. Her recipes are always simple, straightforward and spot on! This risotto is just screaming spring to me! And your pictures are so inviting! I think I could eat this once a week and never tire of it. And I bet the addition of mascarpone made it so creamy! Beautiful! : )

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    1. Good morning, Anne! How are you over in Maryland? :} Thank goodness - you're obsessed with cookbooks too! I'm finding out that I'm no alone here, as I look at my coffee table stacked up with the last few nights reading! lol Thanks so much for stopping by, and your sweet comment!

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  33. Such a lovely spring dish, I have wanted to try this recipe for awhile now!

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    1. Thanks so much, Natalie! If you try it, let me know what you think. Enjoy today!

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  34. What a wonderful dish, perfect for the spring!
    I really like the color of it :)

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    1. Thank you very much!!! The color is really beautiful for spring. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to write a comment!!

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  35. Stunning! I can't wait to try this!! Thak you!

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    1. ..and THANK YOU, Souffle Bombay - for your kind comment and stopping by!!!

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  36. I love Ina too!!!!!!! Haha.... Funny that you mentioned about Jeffrey. Ina and Jeffrey are truly sweet together. Every girl would dream to have the other half like Jeffrey. By the way, your risotto sounds amazing. I need to try this.

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    1. Hi Lokness! Thank you for stopping by a cup of mascarpone! So appreciated! Aren't they the sweetest couple? As I mentioned above, they truly seems genuine, not just cutesy for television. Thanks for your kind words about the risotto...it's delicious, and worth a try! :}

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  37. Carol - I have the same addiction with cookbooks! In fact, there are 6 new ones that arrived at my office yesterday from Amazon. The Barefoot Contessa cookbooks are among my favs and I have all of them. For some reason I missed this recipe but now I have to make it soon. Lovely photos!

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    1. LOL! Thanks so funny, Lisa! When I was working, I used to tell the older gentleman who brought me my Amazon packages, that I just liked seeing him to say hi, so I just "had" to order a cookbook! Of course he knew I was just making excuses for another delivery! ;} Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  38. This will be my next risotto! The light green color of the risotto is so refreshing and perfect for spring meal. I love all the veggies you used in this risotto and I cannot wait to give it a try. As soon as I get more appetite back and eel better, I will make this for my family. :)

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    1. Nami, you will love it! It's so fresh, and reminiscent of the spring season - as you mentioned! I hope you're feeling a bit better. I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. Here's wishing you a healthy week ahead! xox

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Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by a cup of mascarpone, and taking the time to leave a comment! I read, smile, and cherish each and every one of them! xox

Carol