Rather than have an appetizer this time around, I just had a main course with two different sides. The risotto was meant to be a starter but the timing worked out for all of this to be eaten at the same time. Let's start with the main dish, shall we? Most of the people in my family don't like lamb so this turned into Stewed Lamb and Beef with Artichokes. Remember last week when I said I used the stew beef for a different meal? This was it. Instead of buying all lamb, I bought half and half. It was easy to tell it apart since the lamb had bones and the beef did not. This was a fairly easy dish to prepare. There weren't a whole lot of steps and it was a lot of simmering. The meat and artichokes are cooked in white wine so this also has a ton of flavor and because it has to simmer a lot, the flavors are all blended well by serving time. The meat is super tender and the artichokes, which happen to be in season, are tender but not mushy. It's a really well-balanced, flavorful, light dish. Perfect for spring as the weather starts warming up.
The sides also featured vegetables that are currently in season: escarole and asparagus. I don't believe I've ever had escarole before but it doesn't taste much different than other light leafy greens. This particular recipe was very simple. The escarole was boiled to soften then tossed in some garlic infused olive oil. I enjoyed it but apparently no one else did. I might have overcooked it slightly too. The Asparagus Risotto, on the other hand, was a hit. This recipe calls for canned asparagus which weirded me out a bit but turned out to work really well. It's a simple risotto recipe with asparagus mixed in at the beginning. It's simple but tedious. I love risotto but having to stand there and constantly stir it is time consuming and exhausting. Your arm gets a good workout, I'll give you that. Everyone loved this dish though and you couldn't even really tell that there was asparagus in it by the time it was ready. It practically blended into the rest of the rice. If it wasn't for a slightly green color, you wouldn't even know there was a veggie in there.