|Risotto with Asparagus
1 quart chicken stock (approx)
1 pound asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 onion, finely sliced or diced
1 1/2 cups short-grained Arborio or Carnaroli rice
2-3 TBS butter
1/3 cup dry white wine, warmed
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and white pepper
Bring stock to a simmer. Wash asparagus, break off woody ends and reserve. Blanch asparagus spears 1-2 minutes in chicken stock. Remove and cut into 1-inch pieces, separating the tips from the remainder of the stalks. Return the white ends of the stalks to the simmering broth (this is not eaten, just simmered in the stock to increase flavor).
In a heavy, 3 quart saucepan, sauté the onion slowly in the oil to soften slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the rice and continue to saute, stirring regularly, until the grains have turned translucent, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the warmed wine and cook until it has evaporated.
Add the one-inch lengths of asparagus to the rice, and begin stirring in the liquid, a ladle full at a time, stirring regularly. Keep the pot at a lively simmer, adding stock one ladleful at a time and stirring regularly.
Check and adjust seasoning as the rice cooks, when the rice is soft, but still nutty, add one final ladle of stock, butter and half the grated cheese (cream is nice too). Let risotto stand covered for five minutes, then transfer to a serving dish, garnishing with remaining asparagus tips and topping with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as desired. -Serves four to six.