Posted by: timscooking | March 1, 2010

Risotto with Roasted Asparagus

Most people do not realize that Italy is not only famous for the many pasta shapes it produces, but also is the largest producer of rice in Europe. The regions of Lombardy, Piemonte and the Veneto that form the top of the “boot” are prime rice-growing regions. It is here that risotto, not spaghetti, is king. Risotto is simply a technique that allows the starch in certain varieties of rice, primarily arborio or carneroli, to release from the grain and form a creamy sauce. Is it difficult? No, but it does require some time and attention to do it right.

I’ve made risotto in combination with a number of different vegetables, spring peas, wild mushrooms, butternut squash (my wife’s favorite) and asparagus. It can be used as a side dish or as the starch or pasta course in a traditional Italian meal, but we usually just start with a salad and have the risotto as our main course. No matter what vegetable you use with it, the technique is the same.

Since asparagus has come down in price in our area, I decided that our Sunday dinner would be caesar salad, rolls and risotto with roasted asparagus.

Risotto with Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus ( I look for the thinnest stalks I can find)

4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided                     

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 cup yellow onion, small dice

1 1/3 c. Arborio rice

1/2 c. dry white wine (I use Pinot Grigio)

4 c. chicken stock

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 c. grated parmesan cheese

Chopped parsley and grated parmesan for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut off the tough bottom portion of the asparagus, place on a rimmed baking sheet, toss with 2 tbsp. olive oil and the salt and pepper. Spread out flat on the sheet pan and roast for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the stalks until the asparagus is tender. and slightly browned. remove from the oven and let cool.

In a 2 qt. sauce pan, heat the chicken stock until just warm. Do not boil.

In a large skillet or 4 qt. saucier, heat the remaining olive oil on medium, add the onions and stir until the onions become clear. Add the rice and stir to coat, heat through until the outer coating of the rice gets clear and then add the wine. Stir the rice until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add 1 c. of warmed stock to the pan and continue stirring until most has been absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1/2 c. at a time until the rice becomes tender and creamy. You may not use all of the stock. That’s okay as long as the rice is done. Chop the asparagus into 1 inch pieces and add to the risotto, add the butter and finally, stir in to the parmesan cheese. Serve in warmed bowls. Add the chopped parsley and more parmesan to taste.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: