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By Pamela M. Smith, R.D.


5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups chicken stock (fat-free/low sodium)
16 baby carrots, shaved and cut in half
8 medium stalks asparagus
1 cup sugar snap peas (thawed, if frozen)
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, diced
1 cup Arborio or medium grain rice, uncooked
1/2 cup white wine*
1/2 tsp. creole seasoning
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme)

*may substitute dealcoholized wine or more chicken stock

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In a medium-sized stockpot, bring chicken stock to boil over medium heat. Add carrots and cook 3 to 5 minutes until almost tender. Add asparagus, snap peas and peppers, then cook 1 minute longer. Remove vegetables with slotted spoon and place in bowl to cool. Reduce heat and keep stock simmering.

Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add olive oil; heat. Add garlic and onions, and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat grains. Add wine and cook until most of liquid has been absorbed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup simmering chicken stock and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.

Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until rice begins to soften, stirring constantly -- about 15-20 minutes.

Stir in the seasoning and basil, adding more stock to keep mixture creamy. Stir in reserved vegetables and cheese. Sprinkle with herbs. (Serves 4)

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