Risotto with Asparagus
What inspired me to make the Asparagus Risotto is a wonderful little book by Chef Robert Reynolds called An Excuse to Be Together.
It’s not really a cookbook like we think of, although it has numerous incredible recipes, but more of a dialogue with the reader about Chef Reynolds experiences in France shopping for amazing local ingredients and then preparing them with his students.
Note: Since I first posted this recipe, Chef Reynolds has passed away. Although I never met Mr Renolds, I did speak with him by phone and we exchanged several emails.
He was a very nice man and very generous with his cooking knowledge. You can learn more about him and his ideas for making risotto at How to Make Risotto.
1 bunch asparagus - trimmed and blanched tender
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion - cut in a tiny dice
1 pound of risotto-style rice - preferably Canaroli or Arborio
2 cups white wine
1 quart chicken stock - heated
1-quart asparagus blanching water
Freshly ground Parmesan cheese - to taste
Freshly ground pepper - to taste
How To Prepare At Home
Heat the butter in a 9 - 10 inch straight-sided skillet. When it melts, add the olive oil and wait for it to come to temperature.
Add the diced onion, a sprinkle of salt and sauté 3 to 4 minutes without browning until the onions soften.
Add the rice, stirring with a wooden spoon to coat the rice. Heat without browning until the grains turn opaque.
Raise the heat, add the white wine and quickly evaporate.
Turn the heat back down, add enough warmed broth to cover the rice and cook slowly until the liquid evaporates. While the rice cooks, stir constantly, sometimes vigorously to release starches.
Repeat this operation of adding liquid and reducing until the risotto seems tender. Taste the broth as you go along and add salt judiciously to make the liquid flavorful.
When you think you are ready to add the last ladle of liquid, liquefy half a dozen asparagus spears in the water used to blanch the asparagus and finish the risotto with this liquid.
When the risotto is cooked to your liking, turn the heat off and let it rest for five minutes.
Spoon the risotto into flat bowls and garnish with whole asparagus stalks.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and give a grinding of pepper before serving.
When I made this recipe, I used my blender to make the liquefied asparagus water and didn't use all that much of it to finish off the risotto.
This is one of the best risotto I've ever made. It is creamy, simple and delicious.
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