Thursday, June 25, 2015

Spring Risotto with Shaved Asparagus

Serves 4

Recipe Notes: Before starting your rice, get all of your ingredients prepped and ready. Having everything nearby will make easy work of the whole dish.You can use Homemade Chicken Stock but vegetable stock would work just as well. I recommend using homemade stock if you can, but if you choose to use store-bought be sure to get ‘low-sodium’ stock.

Feel free to swap out or change the ingredients to your liking — if you aren’t a fan of mushrooms, leave them out. If you don’t like asparagus, try bell peppers, broccoli, or snap peas instead.

2 TBSP olive
2 TBSP butter, divided
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped (or whatever mushrooms you like)
1 cup Arborio rice (or other risotto rice)
1/2 cup white wine (use what you like)
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 lb. fresh asparagus, blanched*
1/4-1/2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (plus more for garnish)
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
*For this recipe I cut off the tips of the asparagus, then held the stalk at the woody end and used a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons. I then blanched the asparagus tips and shaved asparagus in hot water very quickly, and then moved them to a bath of ice-water to stop the cooking. This made them perfectly tender and bright green. I added the tips to the risotto, and served the shaved asparagus as a garnish on top. Alternatively, you could blanch or steam the asparagus whole and chop it before adding to the risotto.

1. Place stock in a sauce-pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
2. In a separate pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, one TBSP butter, shallot, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt. Saute for 1-2 minutes, then add the rice and cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Add the wine and continue to stir gently until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. This should happen pretty quickly.
4. Add one ladle full of stock to the rice mixture, and stir gently until almost all of the liquid has absorbed. This will take just a few minutes. Once most of the liquid is absorbed, add another ladle full of stock, and continue to stir. Repeat until most of the stock has been used, then give the rice a taste — it should be just a little chewy still.
5. When the rice is almost done, add in the peas, asparagus tips, lemon zest and juice, sun dried tomatoes, and basil.
6. Once the last ladle full of stock has been added and the rice is just barely al-dente, remove the pan from the heat and add one TBSP butter and the Parmesan cheese. Stir well until incorporated, then season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. If you prefer your risotto a little looser, add a bit more stock or water.
7. Top with shaved asparagus and serve immediately. Bon Apetit!