We dig it on our pizza, require it on our burgers and have even been known to melt it on our fries. It’s cheese, the well-loved ingredient that gets a whole lot richer when things are heated up. In these side dishes, cheese isn’t simply an afterthought to be dashed on top. It’s an integral part, giving things a creamy, rich edge in all the right ways. Tune into our roster of cheesy, decadent sides — each recipe is complete with a good showing of spring vegetables.
Due to Arborio rice’s natural starch content, risotto on its own has a creamy quality. But, according to Ina Garten, you simply can’t have risotto without the Parmesan. Her veggie-packed Spring Green Risotto comes together with freshly grated Parm and smooth, rich mascarpone. In the spirit of spring, Ellie Krieger’s Garden Risotto has a garden variety, with peas, asparagus and baby spinach.
Think of Food Network Magazine’s Spring Shells and Cheese (pictured above) as a grown-up mac and cheese — with its mature fix of veggies, too. Zucchini gives it a nice crunch, while spinach slides in for some good green. Or unload a batch of spring peas into this creamy Four Cheese Pasta With Peas and Ham by Food Network Magazine.