Springtime in a Bowl: Kim’s Asparagus Risotto
by Kim Becker
I think most of us will agree that we are happy to see spring weather arrive. It seems like yesterday we were braving the cold and snow. I love watching everything wake up after a long winter’s nap.
One of the first things to pop out of the soil in the garden is asparagus. Now is the time to take advantage of its abundance. The price is low and the flavor is at its peak.
One of my favorite ways to showcase this vegetable is in a classic risotto. Paired with peas, it makes for a perfect spring dish. This Italian comfort food, made with Arborio rice, is a labor of love.
Although easy to make, it’s not the kind of dish you can walk away from. It’s slowly cooked with ladlefuls of broth, adding more each time until it’s absorbed. Like pasta, it serves as a great base for all kinds of additions.
During colder months, I like to make it with roasted butternut squash, mushrooms and spinach. So, when my husband came home with a bag of freshly picked ramps and morel mushrooms, I knew just what to do with them. Springtime in a bowl!
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine (optional)
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 bunch green asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
Juice from half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parmigiano reggiano to garnish
Heat the broth over low heat.
Over medium heat, sauté the finely chopped onion in olive oil, until translucent. Add the garlic.
Continue stirring for another minute. Add the rice, stirring until the grains become translucent. Add the white wine. (If you skip the wine, just begin adding warm broth.)
Once the wine is absorbed, add a cup of the warm broth, continually stirring. As the rice absorbs the broth, continue adding a cup of broth at a time, constantly stirring until the rice is al dente, approximately 25 minutes. (You may not need to use all the broth.)
Add the asparagus and peas. Stir for another 5 minutes until the asparagus and the peas are cooked, yet still crisp.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in the cheese and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with shavings of fresh parmigiano.
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