Chad has declared risotto to be his new favorite thing, so I have a feeling I will be exploring the Wide World of Risotto quite a bit. I also enjoy making it. I usually have my iPod on when I cook meals that require some supervision and it makes the time easier to pass. This recipe is from Rice: From Perfect Paella to Sensational Sushi. Since I made this on a Sunday, I needed to find a recipe that did not involve white wine. (Though I'm sure I could just use more stock if I do not have the required alcohol on hand.) For those whom have never resided in Minnesota, this is because Minnesota is a bit backwards with their liquor laws and you cannot buy alcohol on Sundays from liquor stores (which is where one has to buy wine). Also, Chad said "That's because you drank all the wine in the house." This is true.
Risotto with Asparagus
8 ounces fresh asparagus (I used frozen spears. Explanation below.)
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
5 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups risotto rice (Arborio)
1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
Bring a pan of water to a boil. Cut off any woody pieces on the butts of the asparagus stalks, peel the lower portions, then cook in the water for 5 minutes. Drain the asparagus, reserving the cooking water, refresh under cold water and drain again. Cut the asparagus diagonally into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces. Keep the bud and next-highest sections separate from the stalks.
Place the stock in a pan and add scant 2 cups of the asparagus cooking water. Heat to simmering point, and keep it hot.
Melt two-thirds of the butter in a large, heavy pan or deep skillet. Add the onion and cook until it is soft and golden. Stir in all the asparagus except for the top two sections. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes, mixing well to coat it with butter. Stir in a ladle-full of the hot liquid. using a wooden spoon, stir until the stock has been absorbed.
Gradually add the remaining stock a little at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more and stirring constantly.
After 10 minutes, add the remaining asparagus sections. Continue to cook as before, for about 15 minutes, until the rice is al dente and the risotto is creamy. Off the heat, stir in the remaining butter and the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Would I make this again? Yes. Erik liked this version better and I think it was the lack of wine that made the difference. Chad loves risotto, so it went over very well with him. The trick to getting a 5 year old to eat asparagus is to call it "broccoli beans" - broccoli is his favorite vegetable and the asparagus piece looked like green beans. As far as using frozen asparagus verses fresh, it was simply because there was no fresh asparagus to be found in Lakeville this Sunday! It was gone! Super Target was even out of frozen. I went to Rainbow and purchased the last bag of frozen asparagus spears. Huzzah!