Risotto with Asparagus

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Honest-to-goodness creamy, authentic Italian risotto. Takes a while, but that's part of the fun. Risotto is an art, not a science, I've done my best here, but your mileage may vary.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes

Serves: 4-6


1/2 stick butter
Extra Virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 sweet (Vidalia) onion, finely chopped
10-12 cloves garlic, minced
1 c Arborio rice (must be arborio)
1 c dry white wine
32 oz chicken stock/broth ( box/can plus more in reserve)
pinch safron
1 lb asparagus, first two cuts (also zucchini or summer squash works)
1/2 c fresh grated parmagiano cheese


Pour yourself a glass of wine. This takes a while. The key to risotto is to add the chicken stock slowly, one or two scoop-fulls at a time and constantly stirring the rice until the liquid is absorbed. (Thank you Biba Caggiani)

Empty the box or can of chicken stock into a saucepan and heat to barely simmering. Put it on a side or back burner.

Take a wok or a large stock pot (I prefer a large wok because it has a larger cooking surface). Cover the bottom and sides generously with EVOO and melt the butter over medium-high heat.

Add the onion and garlic and sautee for a few minutes until softened. Add the rice and sautee the rice, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the wine and sautee, stirring frequently. When the liquid is absorbed, add a generous pinch of safron and two ladles of chicken stock and continue stirring until that is absorbed. The rice should always be kept at a very low simmer, just barely bubbling. Adjust the heat as necessary.

Continue adding one to two ladles of chicken stock at a time and stirring until it absorbs for about 10 minutes.

Take the first two cuts of the asparagus (about one inch each, try to use the skinny asparagus, the fat ones take longer to cook) and add it to the pot after 10-15 minutes, when the rice is still very al dente.

Continue to add ladles of chicken stock until it's almost done (about another 10 minutes). The rice should still be somewhat al dente, not crispy but have some body to it. Add the parm cheese and another ladle of stock and stir until absorbed, about another few minutes.

You're done. Hopefully there's some wine left over for dinner.


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