Recipe - Asparagus Risotto
March 31, 2013 at 4:03 PM
Serves 6 as a first course
1 small bunch asparagus spears, about 8-10 medium to large spears
5 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced into 1/4" rings
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup crème fraîche, or mascarpone cheese
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, for garnish
Trim the asparagus, discarding the tough, woody parts of the spears. Peel the bottoms of the spears if you like. Cut spears into 1" pieces. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add 1 teaspoon salt, and drop in the asparagus. Simmer one minute to blanch the asparagus, then drain and refresh under cold running water (or in a bowl of ice water) to stop the cooking. Once cool, drain the asparagus and set aside.
Bring the chicken broth to a simmer and keep at a simmer, covered, over low heat.
Heat the butter over medium heat in a medium heavy bottomed pot; add the leeks and sprinkle with salt. Reduce heat, cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the rice, stirring with a wooden spoon to coat rice with butter, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it is mostly evaporated.
Add 1/2 cup hot broth and simmer, stirring often, until the rice absorbs most of the liquid. Repeat this process, adding 1/2 cup broth at a time and stirring often till each addition is absorbed before adding the next, until rice is al dente (about 20 minutes; at least 1 cup broth will remain).
Fold in reserved asparagus and crème fraîche and heat very gently. Add up to 1 cup broth (1/4 cup at a time) to loosen the risotto to the texture you prefer. Taste and add salt if needed, then garnish with the parsley and serve.
-- Caroline Lewis