I adore fresh asparagus. This asparagus risotto is light, creamy and big on asparagus flavor. This is a perfect example of the simplicity of Italian cooking with great flavors.
½ pound asparagus
4 cups (1 quart) chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1/2 onion, minced
1 cup Carnaroli or Arborio superfine rice
2 tablespoons white wine
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
3 tablespoons mascarpone
1. Add the stock and teaspoon of salt to a medium pan cover and bring to a boil. Meanwhile cut the tips from the asparagus and set aside. Peel the stems of the asparagus if they are tough. Cut the stems in half crosswise and add to the boiling stock. Cook for about 6 minutes or until soft with the lid partially covering the pan to help reduce evaporation. Fill a bowl (large enough to hold the asparagus) with cold water and a few ice cubes. Remove the asparagus from the pan (reserving the stock) with a slotted spoon and place in the ice water to stop the cooking. When the asparagus stems are cool enough to handle cut into 1/2” pieces and puree in a food blender with a couple of tablespoons of the stock. Cover the pan to keep the stock from evaporating too much. Warm the risotto serving dishes.
3. In a heavy-bottomed pot melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent with a 1/8 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Add the rice and cook until lightly toasted. Pour in the wine and cook until it has evaporated. Add enough stock to just cover the rice.
4. Bring to just a gentle simmer stirring regularly. When the liquid goes below the rice add more of the cooking liquid. Continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes. Taste the risotto and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. The rice should be too al dente but not too far off from being perfectly al dente.
5. Stir in the pureed asparagus, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and mascarpone. Stir to mix well. In a small saute pan on medium heat melt 2 teaspoons of butter and warm the asparagus tips. Taste to correct seasonings then serve on warm bowls. Remember the longer the risotto sits the thicker and less silky it becomes. You may want to add a little more stock to the risotto to make sure it is the perfect consistency when it arrives at the table. Use asparagus tips for garnish. Serve warm.
Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie