Asparagus Risotto with a Sweet Crunch

October 7, 2008 · 1 comment

in cooking at Home

I cut out of work at 7:00 last night and was salivating I was so hungry. For some reason I really wanted pizza. Maybe because I was looking at the website for Pizzeria Fortunato, and fried provolone for an appetizer and a real Napolitano Pizza sounded like pretty much the best thing ever. That must wait though. I still have groceries to use in the fridge, and this week I am “fiscally responsible Jimmy”, at least until I go to Kyma on Wednesday night!

With that in mind, this is what I came up with: Lemony Asparagus Risotto with Rosemary and Shallot

I still only have the iPhone, so once again I have some very weak pics. I will get a real camera soon and am reading up on how to take better food photos

Here are the ingredients for tonight’s recipe, which I guess is an original:

  • 1 cup risotto rice
  • 1 32oz box of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 stalks asparagus, ends snapped off 
  • 1 tsp fine balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
First, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes, making sure not to burn the shallots. Grate the cheese and in another pot heat your stock over medium heat. 
Then add the risotto rice to the pan and cook the risotto in with the butter and shallots for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. This is done before you add any liquid and will help with the texture and firmness of your rice in the finished dish. 
After this, start introducing the stock 1/2 cup at a time. Be gentle with the rice as you push the liquid in. Use a soft spatula or a wooden spoon and fold the liquid in from the outside of the pan to help maintain the integrity of the rice. Give the pan a shake to even the rice out. Don’t overwork it. Let the majority of the liquid cook into the rice before adding the next 1/2 cup of liquid. 

Here you see my stock/rice setup from overhead. 

I can’t convey enough how important it is to have a quality pan for cooking the risotto. Here I have an awesome All-Clad that conducts the heat perfectly and the risotto is less likely to stick or burn as it might be with a cheap and thin pan. So spend the money, or get a Christmas gift like I did, and I promise you will see better results. 

During the cooking I added a small amount of minced rosemary for some extra flavor. 

While you are stirring the risotto and adding the liquid, steam the asparagus for 2-3 minutes, remove, and run cold water over them to stop them from cooking any further. You want them to be vibrant green and crunchy. 

You want the rice to cook to al dente, and for one cup of rice you should be able to use all of your stock. Taste constantly until the rice is a little less done than you think it should be. Do not overcook the rice – mushy risotto is no fun.

Once the risotto is close to done, add the lemon juice a bit at a time. Then remove from the heat, add the asparagus and the cheese and fold it in. 

At this point I plated it, added some more grated cheese on top, hit it with some pepper, and poured on some AWESOME balsamic vinegar that my mom just brought back from Italy. I took a shot of the stuff to try it out and it was super sweet and had a perfect amount of tartness. 

I definitely need to get better plates and work on my camera skillz because the photo doesn’t do this justice. This was the best risotto I have ever made. The flavor combination was fantastic – the lemon was very subtle, the rosemary worked well with the other flavors, the asparagus were perfectly crunchy, and the risotto was cooked just the way I like it and has stayed perfectly firm. The touch of balsamic really just sent the dish over the edge. There are not as much leftovers as there should be. But today I am thinking a fried risotto cake might be in order. 

With this meal I drank a 2006 Viña Leyda Sauvignon Blanc Garuma Vineyard. I just got this in from WineLibrary and it is a very good wine, and a heck of a bargain. The nose and flavor profile would trick almost anyone into thinking it is a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It has the tell-tale acidity, asparagus, grapefruit, and “cat-pee” you see from NZ. It also had some stone/minerality and a creaminess that made it really stand out. A 90 point Wine Spectator SB for less than $13 is well worth it, and shows that some up-and-coming parts of the world like Chile can bring the heat.

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  • Katie K

    The risotto looks SO good!

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