It’s a chilly Friday night, after a long week at work, some of it spent traveling. Spent my lunch hour shopping for a quick produce and dairy refresh before I do my real grocery shopping on the weekend. It’s starting to look like spring, but barely. Spring is for tender greens, sweet young peas, garlic shoots and asparagus. They haven’t poked their heads up in my high desert garden yet, but are making an appearance at seasonal pricing in all the grocery stores. Of course I had to grab two pounds asparagus. However, there is still snow on the ground and the evenings are still dropping below freezing point. How to warm the body, enjoy this seasonal treat, and get dinner quickly on the table after work? Risotto! A hot, steamy bowl of risotto. A simple one dish meal – creamy rice, toasted pinenuts and the delicacy of fresh steamed asparagus.
1 Pound Fresh Asparagus
1 Shallot, Minced
4 Tablespoons, Butter, Melted
1 1/4 Cups Arborio Rice
1/2 Cup dry white wine
3 - 4 Cups of Chicken Stock
3/4 Cup Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Pinenuts, Toasted
- Remove tough ends of the asparagus and cut into bite size pieces, and place in a small pan, cover with water.
- Mince the shallots and set aside.
- Mince the garlic and set aside.
- Grate parmesan and set aside.
- In a large skillet or deep sauce pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
- Add Arborio Rice and stir to coat.
- Increase heat slightly and stir in white wine. Cook stirring constantly until liquid is mostly evaporated.
- Begin adding chicken stock, 1/2 a cup at a time. Cook stirring occassionally. As liquid from addition evaporates, add another 1/2 cup. Continue doing this until at least 3 cups of the broth has been absorbed by the rice, and rice is cooked to al dente, this takes about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring asparagus to a boil for 2-3 minutes until tender but still crisp. Drain immediately and rinse with cool water to stop cooking action.
- Stir whipping cream, salt and pepper into the rice. Let whipping cream absorb into the rice. Here is where you can control the consistency of the rice. For looser rice, add additional chicken stock, for firmer rice, use less.
- Stir in Parmesan cheese and pinenuts. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Gently fold in steamed asparagus.
- Serve in shallow bowls topped with additional Parmesan as desired.