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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Asparagus Risotto

This recipe is the first from my Cookbook of the Month, the Foster Harris House Cookbook.  I chose it because we always have arborio rice on hand and all the other ingredients except the asparagus.  Asparagus was on sale for 1.99 a pound at a local grocery store so I picked some up with no specific plan.  I flipped through this book and decided it would be a perfect match.  This was a fairly straight-forward risotto recipe, except for the first few steps  You cook the asparagus in chicken stock that you then keep simmering on the stove to use as the cooking liquid for the rice.  This maximizes the asparagus-ness of the risotto and makes for one less pot to clean!  It was delicious and had a great spring flavor.  I hope to make it again soon as we start to get our weekly CSA boxes and can use some of the farm-fresh asparagus we will get early in the season.

Asparagus Risotto 

1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock
1 pound asparagus
4 tablespoons butter, divided in half
4 tablespoons oil, divided in half
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper

  • Trim ends off asparagus.  Cut on the bias into 1/4 inch pieces, saving the top 2-3 inches as whole spears.  
  • Heat the chicken stock to a simmer.  Cook asparagus in chicken stock for 5 minutes, or until al dente.  Remove from stock and keep in a cool water bath.  Return stock to a simmer.
  • In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add rice and stir, cooking for 2-3 minutes.  Add wine and cook until liquid is absorbed.  
  • Add about half a cup of stock at a time to the rice and onion mixture.  Stir frequently until liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding the stock, half a cup at time, stirring in between and adding more stock once the last addition is absorbed.  The rice will get thick and creamy.  Taste the rice towards the end of the process, you are looking for it to be al dente, with just a bit of bite in the middle.  
  • Add the chopped asparagus, 1/2 cup of cheese and the remaining butter and olive oil.  Stir to combine, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve risotto, topping with spears and extra parmesan.

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