As I popped into a local grocery store/deli to pick up a sandwich for lunch the other day, I had to go through the produce department to get to the deli section. I saw asparagus was on sale and since it had been quite a while since we’d had asparagus, I picked some up. I like asparagus made in any way. The possibilities are endless!
Today I casually wondered if people put asparagus in risotto. I’ve been wanting risotto for several weeks and my P.S. hasn’t taken the time to make it. I did find recipes, so yes it is used in risotto. The flavor profiles vary widely, from also adding lemon to roasting the asparagus before adding to the risotto. My idea, and I was pretty sure it would work, was to roast the asparagus in the oven, then add it to the risotto with parmesan.
I started by snapping off the woody ends of the asparagus then cutting it into one inch pieces. I tossed them with a little olive oil in a bowl, then placing them on foil on a sheet pan. I sprinkled sea salt over them and slid them in a 425°F oven for about 20 minutes.
I didn’t want them to fully brown, just lose their crunch and begin to be brown on the edges. I removed them from the oven and let them set.
My cheese was shredded and waiting in the fridge, and I put the chicken broth into a saucepan and heated it and was ready to begin risotto-ing.
I put butter into a large skillet on medium heat and put in about a half cup of chopped shallots. When they were translucent I poured the Arborio rice into the pan and stirred it until it was coated. I poured ½ cup white wine into the pan and let it simmer, stirring it, until it was absorbed. You could substitute more chicken broth if you’d prefer the risotto alcohol-free.
From there it was a matter of letting each half cup of broth simmer and be absorbed by the rice before adding another.
When I was down to the last cup, I tested for texture and decided it was almost done.
I added the roasted asparagus to the rice and let it simmer with the final addictions of broth and 1 cup of cream. When the cream was almost absorbed I stirred in the shredded cheese and let it all simmer for a few more minutes to firm up and absorb that last bit of moisture.
Taste testing the risotto, I added black pepper; the salt level was fine with the broth and cheese. I removed it from the heat and served it in flat bowls, sprinkling more grated parmesan over the top.
It was a really excellent flavor combo! We loved the asparagus and parmesan flavors. We had huge servings with our meal and fought over the leftovers the next day. It was deliciously smooth with the addition of the cream. The cream could be omitted!
Roasted Asparagus Risotto
1# asparagus; cut into one inch pieces
1 tablespoon oil
Sea salt or regular salt
½ cup diced shallots or red onion; diced
2 tablespoons oil
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine (or substitute chicken broth and 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar)
5 cups chicken broth (I used 4 cups chicken, 1 cup beef broth)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup parmesan; shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Cut asparagus into pieces and toss with 1 tablespoon oil. Spread on parchment paper or foil on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Roast in oven until cooked through and beginning to brown on the edges. Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat a large non-stick skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté shallot until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, cooking 2-3 minutes.
Add ½ cup wine and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is absorbed. Add ½ cup of warm chicken broth and again stir and cook until it is absorbed. Continue adding and stirring until rice is slightly al dente.
When there is one cup of broth remaining, add asparagus and continue cooking and adding broth until broth has been all absorbed.
Add 1 cup heavy cream, stirring until the cream is absorbed but risotto is still fairly wet.
Add shredded cheese and stir well, allowing the rest of the cream to be absorbed into the rice. Taste test for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired.