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 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.
This risotto we've made on the loose side, which is why we are serving it in a bowl. When making risotto you get to decide how loose you want it. Just stop adding liquid when the risotto gets to the consistency you like!
- About 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped shallots
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water)
- 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
Heat the stock:
Heat the stock in a small saucepan until it comes to a low simmer.
Cook shallots, add rice:
In a separate 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 arborio rice and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring until nicely coated.
Add the wine:
Add the white wine. Slowly stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine.
Add the stock, 1/2 cup at a time:
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.
Add the asparagus:
With the last ladle of stock, add the asparagus. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes, until the risotto has absorbed the stock, but is still loose, and the asparagus are just cooked through.
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.
Stir in the Parmesan, remaining butter, add salt, pepper:
Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the Parmesan cheese and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.