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Risotto agli asparagi

Asparagus Risotto
Total Time1 hr
Course: Primo
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: braised, rice, vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch 1 bunch asparagus (about 500g/1 lb) trimmed and (if thick) peeled

For the broth

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery 
  • A spring or two of fresh parsley
  • The bottom thirds of the asparagus stalks and their peelings
  • 1 liter 4 cup water
  • salt

For simering the risotto

  • 1 shallot (or small onion) finely chopped
  • 300-500g 3/4-1 lb rice for risotto
  • White wine
  • Butter and/or olive oil

Instructions

Prepping the asparagus.

  • Cut each stalk into three parts, cut off the woody bottom third and then the tender tips.
  • Take the middles, peel them if needed and cut them into small rounds

Making the broth and blanching the asparagus tips

  • Simmer the asparagus bottoms and any peelings, along with onion, carrot, celery and parsley, in water for 15-20 minutes or so, until the broth has acquired a rich flavor. Strain out the vegetables.
  • Once the broth is done, blanche the asparagus tips in the broth for just 2-3 minutes until just crisp-tender. Remove and set them aside.

Making the risotto

  • Sweat the onion in butter (or butter and oil) in a large pot. Once the onion is soft and translucent, add the asparagus rounds and sauté them gently so they absorb the flavor of the onion-scented butter.
  • Add the rice and let it toast until it turns a chalky white color and begins to "crackle". Add a splash of white wine to the pot, stir and let the wine evaporate completely.
  • Add the asparagus broth one ladleful at a time, stirring it into the rice and letting it absorb the broth before adding another ladleful, until the rice is al dente. If you run out of broth, continue with water. This process usually takes about 20 minutes.
  • While the risotto is cooking, melt a good knob of butter in a skillet and add the asparagus tips. Sauté them over moderate heat for a few minutes, until fully tender, then set aside.
  • When your rice is done, take it off heat. Add the parmigiano-reggiano and, if using, a nice chunk of the soft cheese. Stir vigorously until the cheese has melted into the rice and the risotto is nice and creamy, perhaps about a minute or so.
  • Serve immediately, with a few of the aspargus tips on each plate for garnish.