I love to eat risotto when I’m out at restaurants, but I had always been a little bit intimidated to try making it because it seemed tedious and complicated. It was, as expected, a bit time consuming and required constant attention. However, it was not complicated at all, and oh wow is it creamy! Melt in your mouth creamy, cheesy goodness. I halved this recipe for just the two of us. I think next time I may sneak a bit more asparagus (or perhaps some peas) in there, just because I love my veggies so much! We served this alongside something light and fresh: shrimp simply sauteed in garlic and olive oil.
Source: Adapted from Whole Foods
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
Cooking liquid combined with vegetable broth to make 7 cups
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 cups arborio rice
Fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Braise asparagus in large pan filled with about 2 inches of water (asparagus should fit in one layer across bottom of pan), covered, about 5 minutes. Remove asparagus (reserve water) and rinse with cool water to prevent further cooking. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces and set spear tips aside to add to dish once it is cooked. Pour cooking water into large pot and add enough vegetable broth to make 7 cups of liquid. Keep water simmering over low heat, as you’ll be adding this to the rice throughout its cooking.
In large heavy pot, add 1 tablespoon butter, olive oil and minced onion. Cook onion until nearly translucent over medium-high heat. Add asparagus stalks (not the spear tips) and stir well. (I opted instead to add all of the asparagus after the rice was cooked so that it would remain crisp.) Add rice, stirring quickly. Add 1/2 cup simmering broth and cook, stirring constantly, until water is absorbed. Repeat process till rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
The consistency should be creamy and the rice tender but slightly firm at the center. Turn off heat and stir in asparagus spear tips, pepper, 2 tablespoons butter and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately.