Asparagus and Spring Onion Risotto

Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy March and Happy Friday! I've got lots of fun things coming up on the blog this month that I can't wait to share with you!

Since I began reading my latest book (which by the way will be next on the book review list), Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I have become obsessed with the idea of trying to stay out of the big chain grocery stores and eat more local, in-season foods. I have been frequenting winter farmers markets, Trader Joe's, and our awesome local health food store, David's Natural Market, to find the best of the best when it comes to our meals. This book has really opened my eyes quite a bit about what we put into our mouths every day.

For the winter months, I've learned that you kind of need to plan ahead since not much is really grown in the winter time (duh) that hasn't been shipped here from warmer climates many miles away. Since I don't have a garden and I have not yet learned the process of canning, I felt a little behind and unprepared. Fortunately for me, Spring is right around the corner! And if there's one thing the book has taught me is that the first signs of spring equal ASPARAGUS!

Now this is a tricky vegetable for us since Mike won't eat asparagus alone. I deeply enjoy fresh asparagus sautéed in a little butter just like the next person but trying to convince my husband to eat it is more of a battle than it's worth. I have since learned that, most of the time, hiding the vegetables he doesn't like in our meals so that he doesn't even notice he is eating them works like a charm.

Hence, our next recipe:

Asparagus and Spring Onion Risotto

2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup dry white wine
8 ounces asparagus, ends trimmed, sliced one inch thick at an angle
3 medium spring onions, cleaned and sliced, green stalks discarded
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of one lemon
salt and black pepper to taste

In a small pot on the back burner, warm the vegetable or chicken broth.

On the front burner in a large pot, melt half the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about three minutes, stirring ocassionally. Add the rice and cook for another two minutes, stirring. Add the wine, continue to stir.

Once the wine has been mostly absorbed, about 5 minutes, begin adding the warm stock in 1/2-1 cup increments. People often tell you to stir constantly, but in the beginning it’s alright to let it be for a bit.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add the remaining half tablespoon of butter. Saute the asparagus until just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, continue to monitor the risotto, adding stock as needed, and stirring regularly. Towards the end, as the risotto plumps and cooks, you will need to keep a pretty constant eye on it, stirring frequently so that the rice doesn’t burn. When all of the stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through, remove from heat. Stir in the cup of parmesan. Add the asparagus, parsley, lemon juice and zest, and stir to combine.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

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