Friday, October 30, 2009

Creamy Asparagus Risotto

This is a monumental dinner. A recipe form a magazine so good I followed it as written. Okay so I didn't chop the shallots all that fine and my risotto took more than 15 minutes to be tender and 3 1/2 cups of rice is more than a pound in my book . . . but for me, that's strict adherence.
Try this one at home -- it's Lori De Mori's Creamy Asparagus Risotto from Food and Wine.
First I cut the tips off 2 bunches of fresh asparagus and cooked them in salted boiling water. After 2 minutes I removed the tips and shocked them in ice water, then drained and set aside on a paper towel. Next I trimmed the hard ends off the stalks and cooked the tender remainder in the same salted boiling water for 10 minutes. When those were tender-soft I puréed them in the blender (okay another variation, I didn't use a food processor and I didn't strain this purée because I have a super powered Vita-Mix and it pulverizes everything smoothly). then it was a normal risotto procedure. I sautéed 3 minced (sort of) shallots in 1/4 cup olive oil for about 4 minutes and added 3 chopped cloves of garlic and cooked until the shallots were starting to brown. I added the rice (the recipe said 3 1/2 cups and defined it as 1 pound -- that's way more than a pound to me so I split the difference here) and cooked and stirred until the rice was coated with the oil. Meanwhile I heated about 6 cups of broth (the recipe said 8 but I had used less rice -- and, because I couldn't throw it away, instead of just broth I mixed in the water left over from cooking the asparagus). When the rice was coated I added 3/4 cup of white wine and let it cook, stirring here and there, until evaporated. It was risotto as usual, adding stock about a cup at a time, stirring and adding more broth until the rice was just about tender. I stirred in the puréed asparagus stalks (not all quantity explanation below), and stirred and cooked about 4 minutes more. Next I added in the asparagus tips, cooked for 1 minute, stirred in 1 TB of butter, S&P, and 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese -- let sit for two minutes and served. It might be the best risotto I ever made, I am going to try this puréed vegetable method with other flavors -- mmmm, sweet corn risotto.
One problem. In my slavish recipe following I failed to notice this was a recipe for 8 servings -- way more than my traditional lunch for tomorrow left overs. As I stirred I debated . . . extra risotto for asparagus flavored arancini? I decided to try a risotto experiment. When the rice was about half-cooked I poured about half out onto a sheet pan to cool. I'm going to try and store it and pick up a similar recipe where I left off some time down the road. Details to follow. But for now, try this recipe -- quick, while asparagus is still in season.

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