Asparagus Risotto

Serves 4-6

Everybody associates risotti with Italy, and stirring, but it is actually a very adaptable, light, healthy dish that is easy to prepare!  This recipe can be adapted in so many ways that you are sure to find something in your fridge that will work as a base. As we are entering spring, here is one version that uses every part of the asparagus. In Italy, risotto is served absolutely “al dente”, which means the rice kernel is still hard at the core, but we found that the kids were not as picky and preferred the dish a little softer. Learn how to make one of these dishes, and you have another dish in your repertoire that will bring you a long way in feeding your family a healthy, colorful and easy meal.

1 lb green asparagus
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
1 onion (or leek)
2 cups arborio, vialone or carnaroli rice (I sometimes also use short grain brown rice): usually ½ cup per person (or two children)
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups water
2 oz fresh parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Wash asparagus and break off hard ends.
Boil hard ends in approx. 4 cups lightly salted water for approximately 10 minutes; discard ends and keep liquid.
Use a wide pan and heat olive oil (and butter, if using).
Finely dice one onion and sauté while stirring in oil until tender.
Add rice and toast in onion mixture until it becomes glassy – continue to stir.
Add white wine and let it absorb – about 5 minutes.
Either add asparagus broth bit by bit or – to save time – in two batches while stirring over low-medium heat  – about 12 minutes.
When most of the liquid is absorbed, add the finely sliced asparagus and stir well.
A teaspoon of butter (or cream) is optional and makes the rice very creamy. Some olive oil is a good substitute.
Add the Parmesan and adjust seasoning.
Leftovers can be reheated by adding a little water.

2 thoughts on “Asparagus Risotto

  1. I like the idea of boiling the asparagus ends for a broth. Waste not, want not as my Mom always says!

  2. I agree with Anne, nice use of the asparagus ends! I’ve never tried to make risotto with brown rice, in fact I rarely make risotto because I thought the only way was to use a refined arborio rice. I’ll have to give risotto made with brown rice a try sometime.

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