1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped fennel
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
6 ounces edamame, shelled
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, preferably Italian
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives or scallions, plus extra for serving
Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Season with salt and pepper. 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 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)
Pea Puree – optional to puree 1/2 cup of the peas until smooth.
When the risotto has been cooking for 15+ minutes, and it is almost finished, add the asparagus, the pea puree, the whole peas, and lemon zest. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still has a bite.
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 Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, taste for salt and pepper (adding if necessary), and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese. Serves 6.