Arborio Rice Salad with Fava Beans and Asparagus

Fortunately for our dinner table, my husband has been spending some time watching some cooking shows.  Recently he learned how to make this amazing salad, but he doesn’t know what channel, who the chef was, etc….  Following is his version of what he saw.  The original was made with cubed ham, but he made it vegetarian style.  It also called for Pecorino cheese.  We didn’t find any, so he substituted a Swiss Emmentaler cheese which was a great substitution.  

Arborio Rice Salad with Fava Beans and Asparagus

1 cup arborio rice

1 cup fresh fava beans

1 cup green peas (fresh or canned)

1 lb. fresh asaparagus

1/4 lb. Swiss Emmentaler Cheese (or Peccorino)

1/4 – 1/2 lb. cubed ham (optional)

2 medium lemons

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (really good oil makes all the difference!)

salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Parsley

Fresh Basil

1.)  Use a stock pot with about 1 gallon of water to start.  Add arborio rice to boiling water, a little salt, and stir.  Cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

2.) Julienne the asparagus, discarding about the bottom 1/4 of the stalk.  Blanch the peas (if fresh), and the fava beans and asparagus in boiling water for 4 – 5 minutes.  Strain.  Peel the fava beans.  Set beans, peas, and asparagus aside.

3.)  Prepare Vinaigrette:  Zest both lemons and squeeze the juice into a bowl.  Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  

4.) Chop some parsley and basil.  Set aside.

5.) Cut the cheese in small cubes (and ham if using); set aside.

6.) Drain the rice; mix together rice, peas, beans, asparagus, cheese, ham (if using), lemon rind, parsley, basil, and vinaigrette into a glass bowl.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

My husband’s final instruction?  ENJOY!!!

A little labor intensive, but definitely worth the effort.  This made enough for us to both eat as a large side dish for about 2 – 3 meals.  If you’re looking for a great potluck dish to wow the diners, this is the one!

Note:  I’ll have a photo as soon as I can locate my camera!  The plate is ready and garnished, the sun is out and prepared for a photo shoot, but alas – the camera has grown legs and left the premises.  Bummer.

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