Replay: Hazelnut-Asparagus Risotto

>> Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hazelnut-Asparagus Risotto

This risotto is so good I had to replay it again. I'm in perfect agreement with the 'eat local' movement, but at the same time I'm thankful we live in an era where we can get asparagus out of season when we're really craving it. So here's what I wrote back in June 2012:

So sad that the fresh asparagus season is almost over for the year. We just received two gifts of fresh asparagus in the last week: some came from my dear friend Ardy, and a big bundle came from my mom's garden in Ohio. Risotto was on our minds, slowly stirred into creaminess.

This recipe from Bocca Cookbook, by Jacob Kennedy, made a perfect meatless Monday main dish. It would be just as good as a side dish. We found our shelled hazelnuts (also called filberts) in the baking section and were pleased - whole hazelnuts look hard to crack.

The bright and slightly crunchy asparagus was a revelation paired with the earthy hazelnuts. We were too hungry to fully appreciate the combination at first, but once we slowed down and savored the flavors, it was exquisite.

I think I say food is exquisite too often, but my goodness, this is tasty, even if your friend didn't just snap off the last of her asparagus right out of her backyard for you.


½ medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup arborio rice
2/3 cup white wine
1 1/4 cups water
1 large bunch (3/4 pound) thin asparagus, cut into 1-inch sections
1/3 cup Gorgonzola, crumbled
½ cup shelled hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped


Melt the oil and butter together in a large saucepan. Saute the onion until tender. Add the rice and salt and cook for two minutes. Add the wine and 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer. Continue stirring and simmering and add the rest of the water in small batches as the arborio rice absorbs it - about 20 minutes total.

When the rice is just a little too al dente, sprinkle in the cheese and stir until it is the texture that you like. Serve sprinkled with the rest of the cheese and the hazelnuts.

Makes 2-3 main dishes, or 4-5 side dishes.


Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken

>> Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Jessie, you're going to love this chicken - it is fast, easy, and just a little spicy. It's pretty healthy, too, if you use low fat cheese and bake the chicken rather than fry it.


2 large chicken breasts
2 small jalapenos, seeded and diced
1/3 of a small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 oz. low fat cream cheese
1 tbsp milk
1/2 cup low fat cheddar or pepper jack cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of bacon


Place each chicken breast on a cutting board and put your (non-cutting) hand on top of it. Cut through the edge nearly through to the other edge, then open it wide like butterfly wings (this is called "butterflying" the meat). Using a mallet, pound out the butterflied meat until it is thinner. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and oil a cooking pan.

Closing stuffed chicken breast

Stir together the cream cheese, milk, cheddar, and jalapenos. Spread half of the mixture onto one side of each chicken breast. Place half of the pepper strips on each breast. Fold it in half and pound the edges together with a mallet so that it holds together better.

Putting toothpicks in stuffed chicken breast

Stick a few toothpicks through the edges of the meat so it stays together while cooking, and the filling doesn't leak out. Wrap a slice of bacon around each breast. Heat a frying pan to medium heat, and brown the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Place in the oiled pan and pour 2 tbsp of water over the chicken. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is firm and no longer pink. We ate this with mashed potatoes and steamed zucchini, and it was great!

Serves 4.

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