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Double Asparagus Risotto February 24, 2008

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, food porn.

So. . .I’m fairly happy with this. I have yet to try it re-heated, but it was pretty friffin not bad last night.

Asparagus Risotto

So, the first thing we did was steam a bunch of asparagus. Bunch – that’s a technical culinary term – it’s about a pound, before the asparagus is cleaned.

To clean the asparagus, I just bend it until the very end snaps off — not the tip end, the end that comes out of the ground. That’s usually cut as close to the ground as possible when it’s harvested, and it’s kinda like trying to eat a little chunk of bark. So, depending on how tender your asparagus is, there may be a lot of waste. . . but at least you’re not eating wood. 🙄

So. We actually steamed the asparagus in the rice cooker. Boy, talk about a cool gadget. We’re having rice now like 3 or 4 nights a week, which is fine. But we should probably be eating brown rice or something more healthy.

But I digress. So, we put about a cup or so of chicken broth, along with a splash of lemon juice, in the bottom of the rice cooker and the asparagus in the steamer basket and steamed the veggies that way. Once the asparagus was tender, we set aside the tips and pureed the rest of the stalks with the steaming liquid and a bit of lemon zest – about a lemon’s worth. Meanwhile, we heated about 3 cups of chicken broth besides.

While the asparagus was steaming, we also toasted some pine nuts to toss into the final product – those got set aside, as well, along with the fancy asparagus tips.


So. One thing that risotto demonstrates is the importance of mis en place. Now we’re ready to start. We’ve got the following prepped on the counter:

  • asparagus puree (asparagus, chicken broth, lemon zest)
  • more hot chicken broth
  • toasted pine nuts and some asparagus tips
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • butter
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • Now, we start cooking. We sweat the onions, garlic and carrots in the olive oil. I pretty much just added the carrots for a little color — they didn’t add much one way or the other as far as flavor, but a bit of color is worth the extra step to me.

    Throw in the arborio rice and just saute until the rice is shiny from the oil. Now you start adding liquid. Add the chicken broth first, about a half-cup at a time, stirring constantly until each addition has been absorbed by the parched rice. Then, bit by bit, add more liquid.

    Once all the chicken broth has been added, then continue with the pureed asparagus mixture. All in all, it took about half an hour to incorporate all the liquid. It seems like a long time to stand over the stove, but it’s that slow-stirring process that makes risotto, well, risotto.

    Finally, once all the liquid has been soaked up, and the rice is starting to look creamy, we’re just about done. Now we gently fold in the tips that we set aside earlier (remember that?) and the toasted pine nuts, along with a dab of butter and some parmesan cheese.

    It really was pretty simple. I mean, it sounds complicated, but with a little prep work, it’s like everything just falls into place – it’s like a cascade. It’s the prep work, though, that makes it easy.

    I’ll most likely be taking the remainder to work with me tomorrow for lunch, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be pretty good. 🙂

    I’ve posted the “official recipe” on Recipezaar, but that doesn’t include the charming blow-by-blow.

    Enjoy. 🙂


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