One of my favorite things to make is risotto. I love it for its versatility and simple preparation. The basic formula for risotto is pretty simple, all you need rice, an onion, white wine, cooking stock and Parmesan cheese. This creates a nice and agreeable canvas to put any imaginable combination of ingredients into.
Risotto may seem intimidating if you’ve never made it before, but once you resolve to be invested in the constant stirring that is required, you will see how nicely the effort pays off. Well-cooked risotto should be slightly creamy, and slightly al dente. The constant stirring allows the starch in the rice to be released, and that is what contributes to the creamy texture of the finished dish, so do not underestimate the importance of this part of the process. Now when I talk about stirring, I don’t mean just standing there and swirling the contents of the pot around – I mean aggressive, arm-toning stirring.
With an abundance of asparagus this time of year, using it in risotto is a great way to enhance this basic recipe!
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine
- 6 cups unsalted stock (vegetable or chicken), lightly simmered and kept warm
- 1-2 tbs fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 lb asparagus, cut into 1 inch slices on the bias, tips kept separately
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a sauce pan on medium and warm the olive oil. Add the onion and let sauté until translucent and soft, but do not let it brown
- Add the risotto and cook 1-2 minutes until it’s well incorporated into the onion mixture and starts to turn translucent
- Deglaze the pan with the wine, and continue to stir until the wine is fully absorbed
- Add 1 cup of stock to the pan, and continuously stir until fully absorbed
- Continue adding stock 1 cup at a time until the rice is almost al dente, about 14- 15 minutes
- Add the asparagus to the risotto and continue to add stock and stir for another 2-3 minutes
- While the asparagus is cooking in the risotto, heat a small sauté pan and add ½ tbs butter or olive oil. Lightly sauté the asparagus tips, 2-3 minutes
- Add the salt and pepper, and stir and taste for flavor
- Add the lemon juice and parmesan and continue stirring until it’s well incorporated
- Taste again and adjust for seasoning
- Once the risotto is done, plate and garnish with the asparagus tips