Asparagus Risotto

I make risotto a lot. It is comfort food for me, but without all the guilt. In many restaurant risottos there is a ton of hidden butter, oil and cheese. I try to keep mine light so that seconds and thirds are absolutely acceptable. I have posted about risotto before, but I made this asparagus version the other night and it was "blog-worthy" (A word being used in my kitchen often these days). Asparagus is still in season and quite fresh. You could also substitute any veggie would like. So jump into a creamy, hot, steamy bowl of this after a long day and feel good about your comfort food.

Asparagus Risotto
Forks & Amusement 2010
serves 2 really hungry people or 4 good sides

6 cups of chicken stock
1 bunch of asparagus
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chopped shallots
1 cup arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
pinch of saffron
salt and pepper
grated Parmesan cheese

Bring the stock to a boil in a large sauce pan. Blanch the asparagus for 4 minutes or until just tender and still bright green. Remove asparagus from stock and throw into a big bowl filled with water and ice to stop the cooking process. Remove asparagus from bowl and set aside.

Add lemon juice to the stock and warm until just about to boil. Keep warm and have a ladle handy.

In a large skillet or pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat until melted and heated through. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, but not browned. Turn heat down if cooking too fast. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter, oil and shallot. Allow to heat through and toast for a few minutes. Add the wine, saffron and salt and pepper, continue to stir until the wine is fully absorbed into the rice.

Using the ladle, add about 1 cup of stock to the pan at a time. Stirring often and allowing rice to absorb all the liquid. When it starts to look dry, add another ladle and repeat. continue this process until the rice is tender, but not mushy, and there is a yummy creamy sauce all around it(about 35 minutes). Stir in the asparagus until heated through. Remove from the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in heaping mounds with lots of Parmesan cheese.


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