Tag Archives: risotto

asparagus risotto

 

This is not just a risotto with some asparagus pieces thrown in at the end- oh no.   This is a risotto swimming in miniscule flecks of asparagus, fully immersed in green and spring.  It’s my favorite kind of asparagus recipe- the kind that embraces the use of the entire stalk.  Instead of throwing out the tougher ends of the stalk [or adding them to the finished risotto to be picked around and pushed off to the side], we cook them a bit and then puree, producing a bright-green bubbly liquid.

Then this asparagus puree is stirred into the risotto, alternated with the traditional chicken stock, stirring and coaxing each little grain of rice to absorb as much of the asparagus- its flavor, nutrition, color- as it can.   A very asparagusy risotto indeed! 


Asparagus risotto
adapted from Mario Batali

Serves 4-6 as a side; 2 or 3 as a meal

1/2 to 3/4 pound asparagus stalks
3 to 4 cups chicken stock
1 shallot, diced
1 T. butter
2 t. olive oil
1 cup short-grain rice
3/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper
freshly grated parmesan for serving

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, wash asparagus; trim off tough ends and discard.  Chop into 1-inch pieces, setting aside the tips and the pieces from the top two-thirds of the stalks.  Once the water is boiling, toss in the pieces of asparagus from the bottom third of the stalks.  Boil for 4-5 minutes; drain all but 1/4 cup water.  Puree aspargus and 1/4 cup of water in a food processor or blender; set aside.

Place chicken stock in a small saucepan and keep over medium heat.  In a heavy-bottomed skillet, melt butter and oil over medium heat.  Sautee diced shallot for 1 minute, then add raw, unrinsed rice.  Sautee for 4-5 minutes, then increase heat to medium-high.  Add wine and stir while reducing. Once wine is mostly absorbed, add the hot stock in 1/2 cup increments, stirring almost constantly.  Wait to add more stock until the rice has absorbed nearly all of the liquid.

Once 2 cups of the stock have been added and absorbed, alternate adding 1/2 cup of the asparagus puree and 1/2 cup of chicken stock, again allowing the rice to absorb almost all of the liquid before adding more.  At this point, check the rice frequently, wanting it to be cooked but with a bit of an al dente bite.  Once the risotto is creamy and the rice is fully cooked, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with parmesan.

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Filed under Clean Eating, Gluten-Free, Main dishes, Side dishes, Spring, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Leek Risotto

Yes, leeks are a spring food.  But they’ve got a fall season, too.  (This makes me automatically love leeks, and rhubarb and spinach too- I get them on both ends of the growing season.)

Until this summer, I had never cooked with leeks.  Sheltered, I know.  My first leek experience was to saute some of these in butter, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, and splash some white wine over the top. The sweet, grown-up flavor was shy yet undeniable. Leeks are the middle child, stuck between well-rounded, know-it-all onion and spotlight-loving and spicy garlic. They’re refined, quieter, gentler.

I ate leek risotto throughout late May and early June.  And when I found leeks at the very last farmer’s market of the season, I was thankful- one last leek risotto before hibernating for winter.

Leek Risotto
adapted from Daily Unadventures in Cooking

Serves 4

4 T. unsalted butter
3-4 small, tender leeks, cleaned
kosher salt and pepper
1 c. arborio rice
1 c. white wine
4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
2 T. lemon juice
1 c. grated parmesan (I used parm and romano)

Clean up your leeks: trim off the bottoms and the dark leafy green tops, and cut in half lengthwise. Run each half under cold water, making sure to rinse out any sand or debris in between the layers of the leek. Shake and/or pat dry, and then cut into small semi-circles, about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick.  Loosly separate and lay on a towel to try out a bit.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; add leeks and stir lightly. Keeping heat at medium or lower, cook the leeks for about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes until they barely start to brown.

While the leeks are cooking, pick over your rice for debris. Place your stock in a medium pot, cover, and heat over medium, just to bring the temperature up but not necessarily boil. (If it simmers, that’s fine, but it doesn’t need to- we just want it warmer than room temperature, as it will help make a faster and creamier risotto.)

Once the leeks are wilted and beginning to lightly brown, add the rice and stir. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook at medium-high, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes.  Add wine and bring up to a simmer. Continue stirring until the wine is reduced almost completely.

Add a large ladle of stock, between 1/2 and 3/4 cup. Bring the mixture up to a simmer and continue stirring almost constantly.  Cook until almost all of the liquid is absorbed or evaporated before adding another ladle of stock. Continue this process until the rice is cooked al dente (with a slight bite to it) and most of the stock has been added and evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and cheese.

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Filed under Fall, Main dishes, Side dishes, Spring, Vegetarian