It's asparagus season and fresh asparagus is so good, I want to use it any way I can. There's a farm across the road from us and they have their fresh asparagus for sale. I had some for breakfast the other morning and wow. You forget what really fresh asparagus tastes like after so long! What a difference. If you're buying it now, here's one delicious way to use it. This risotto is a little different from a lot of vegetable risottos because instead of just adding the asparagus at the end, you puree some of it with the stock. This makes for a richer flavor. It's delicious!
- 1 pound of asparagus
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup carnaroli or arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
- zest of 1 lemon
Cut the tips from the asparagus and set aside. Cut the woody ends off the asparagus so you have just the nice stems left.
In a pot of boiling water, cook the tips for about one minute and then plunge in an ice bath.
In the same pot of water, boil the stems until they are soft, about 8 minutes. Drain.
Place the stock in a saucepan and add asparagus stems. Insert an immersion blender and blend. ( If you don't have an immersion blender, you'll have to do it in a blender). Bring the stock to a low simmer and just keep warm on the stove.
Heat the olive oil in a risotto pan or any heavy saucepan. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, but do not brown. Add the rice and cook for a minute. Add the wine. Stir in a ladleful of the stock and stir, with a spatula. Every time the stock is absorbed, add another ladleful or two. Keep stirring so the risotto does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Keep adding stock and stirring until the risotto is cooked, about 30 minutes, to your taste.
Take off the heat and add the cream, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and asparagus tips and gently blend.
For a longer discussion about risotto, you can refer to my previous post about how to make risotto.