In California winter can transition to spring in a flash. It seems like yesterday we were beset by chilly storms while the forecast for this week is all sunny and 70s. Daffodils are blooming, as are cherry trees, and the truest test of spring, asparagus in the market can be found for less than $2 a pound. I just couldn’t resist these at the market today, and cooked them up into a creamy risotto. This recipe is a a classic asparagus risotto recipe. You can easily dress it up with some lemon zest, lump crab meat, green onions, truffle salt, fresh thyme or chopped mint.
If you want to make this a vegetarian dish, use vegetable stock or water instead of the chicken stock.
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped shallots
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (or 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 3 Tbsp water)
- About 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian option)*
- 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed, tips cut off, tough skins of the spears peeled (if working with thick apparatus spears), and the spears cut into thin disks
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
If cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free stock.
1 In a 3 or 4 quart saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon butter on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for a minute or two, until translucent. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring until nicely coated.
2 While the shallots are cooking, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
3 Add the wine. Slowly stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine. Once the wine is almost completely absorbed, add 1/2 cup of hot stock to the rice. Continue to stir until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, adding more stock in 1/2 cup increments. Stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 20-25 minutes. With the last ladle of stock, add the asparagus. Turn off the heat.
Note the stock amount given is approximate. You may need a little more or less. If you end up needing more stock and you find yourself without, just use water.
4 Gently stir in the Parmesan cheese and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.