This asparagus risotto is perfect to prepare in the spring, or whenever you can get your hands on fresh asparagus. The best asparagus stalks are about a half-inch thick.
The procedure for making risotto involves stirring hot stock into the uncooked arborio rice one ladleful at a time and cooking slowly as the stock is absorbed. This technique releases the arborio's natural starches, making a creamy, velvety dish.
For an illustrated demonstration of the risotto method, here's a step-by-step tutorial on how to make risotto.
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1 quarter chicken stock
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 medium shallot (or, 1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup))
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 pound asparagus (cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 1/4 cup grated
- Parmesan cheese (plus, extra Parmesan for shaving)
- 2 tablespoon Italian parsley (chopped)
- Kosher salt to taste
- Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot or onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until it's soft and slightly translucent.
- Add the arborio rice to the pot and stir it briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Sauté for another minute or so, until there is a slightly nutty aroma, but don't let the rice turn brown.
- Add the wine and cook while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed.
- Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.
Note: It's important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.
- Continue adding ladles of hot stock and stirring the rice while the liquid is absorbed. As it cooks, you'll see that the rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches.
- Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20 to 30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. After about 15 minutes, add the asparagus and continue ladling and stirring. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn't done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it's absorbed.
- Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, the grated Parmesan cheese, and the parsley, and season to taste with Kosher salt. Garnish with additional shavings of Parmesan cheese and serve right away.
Got leftovers? This recipe for risotto cakes is a great way to use leftover risotto.