Asparagus Risotto

28 09 2009

Recipe adapted from Risotto With Asparagus by Deborah Mele. Be sure to click through to check out her other great Italian recipes, menus, tips, and more!


6 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed/minced
1 1/2 cups arborio (risotto) rice
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, woody stems removed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

(Serves 2-3.)

Note: Cooking risotto is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process. Getting as much prep work done ahead of time is critical.

  1. We begin by dicing the onion. Scrape off to the corner of your cutting board, or transfer to a small bowl.


  2. Crush the garlic with a press, or finely mince with a small knife. Set aside.


  3. Rinse the asparagus, and remove the woody stems. The stems will snap off naturally; just hold either end and bend the stalk until it snaps. Cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces and add to a small bowl (they tend to roll off the cutting board otherwise).




  4. Pour the white wine into a measuring cup and set aside.


  5. Pour 6 cups of [broth] into a medium saucepan and set over low heat. Do not bring to a boil, just warm it up.


  6. Add 4 Tbsp of butter to a wide skillet, dutch oven, or risotto pan, and set over medium heat.


  7. Measure out the arborio rice and set aside.


  8. The [broth] should be warmed up around the time that the butter melts in the pan/pot.


  9. Add the onions to the pan, and stir frequently until onions are translucent.


  10. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.


  11. Add the rice, stirring frequently to ensure that the rice is coated with the melted butter.



  12. Add the wine. Stir frequently until wine is completely absorbed.



  13. As with any liquid that is added to the pan, here is how to check for absorbtion: Spread the rice along the bottom of the pan, and slide your spoon/spatula down the middle. If you can make a “clean” line with no liquid seeping in from the edges, it’s time to add more liquid.



    Here is an example of rice that is not done absorbing liquid: The line is not “clean”, and liquid is seeping into the center.


  14. After the wine is absorbed, use a ladle and scoop in about 1/2 cup of broth. Stir the rice constantly (you WILL get your exercise) until liquid is absorbed.

    Note: Risotto sticks to the pan and/or burns easily, so don’t wander too far from the stove. Stir until your head explodes.

  15. 15 minutes into the cooking time, add the asparagus pieces to the pan and stir well to incorporate.



  16. Continue to add broth slowly and stir rice constantly. Check rice for done-ness with a small spoon. If the rice is creamy but not runny, and is cooked and lightly firm to the teeth (al dente), it’s ready to serve.
  17. Add 2 Tbsp butter to the rice and stir to blend.


  18. Add the parmesan cheese and stir to blend.


  19. Add freshly grated cheese to top off each dish as desired.



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