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  Wisconsin Asiago Vegetable Risotto

2/3 cup butter, divided
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 cups Arborio (Italian short-grain) rice
3-1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
Pinch of saffron threads
1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch half-rounds
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
2 green onions, sliced
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup Wisconsin Asiago cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 oz. bacon, preferably applewood-smoked bacon, chopped and cooked crisp

In a 3-quart pan, heat 1 Tbsp. butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add rice and stir continuously until edges of kernels are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth and stir until it is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add another 1/2 cup broth, saffron, zucchini, asparagus, red pepper, onions, and pepper. Cook until all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue to add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, cooking until liquid is absorbed each time. When all liquid has been added and absorbed, stir in lemon juice, Asiago, and remaining butter. Mixture should be creamy and rice should be al dente. Just before serving, stir in basil, pine nuts, and bacon. Makes 8 servings.

 

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