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No, I didn’t make a mistake with the title.
Asparagus-Asparagus Risotto has earned its name! This risotto includes asparagus two ways, and it is not the ordinary ~Risotto (with asparagus in it)~ This risotto celebrates asparagus in all its fresh spring glory. Thus, Asparagus-Asparagus Risotto!
You better head to the market now and get yourself some asparagus, because you are going to want to make this, eat it, and keep on eating it. Three thumbs up from our house :)
I had two different asparagus recipes in mind for this week. A risotto, and an intriguing Penne with Asparagus Pistachio Pesto. I will be showing you that one before asparagus season is over, but our weather turned from 80s and summery to 60s and blustery — creamy warm risotto seemed just right for today!
Besides, I bought this gigantic bunch of asparagus and we ate most of the same-sized little stalks. What else can one do with a bunch containing this range of sizes?
I had never considered putting asparagus in the blender before, and that hooked me when I read the recipe that mine sprang from. How better to get a fresh asparagus flavor in every bite? It works like a dream!
It looks a little odd in the picture below, because the air bubbles kept collecting when I reached for the camera! But the blender is the trick for this recipe’s amazing fresh asparagus flavor!
Notes about the recipe (coming right up): I skipped the usual cream and parmesan stir-ins at the end, opting for some low-fat cream cheese. I am patting myself on the back on your behalf, because you will find just the right creaminess without the bite of parmesan overwhelming the asparagus.
Of course, onion and a bit of garlic can be subbed for the shallots, but their flavor goes very well with asparagus in my opinion.
I also used a rich Vegetable Stock (Kitchen Basics, unsalted) and so my risotto is darker, browner, than it would be if I had opted for the lighter chicken stock. But the flavor was so worth it :) Your choice!
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So here’s the recipe, with some what-it-looked-like-while-I-was-cooking-it pictures at the end. (In case you haven’t made risotto before.) (In which case, you SHOULD make this risotto!) (And if you have made risotto before, you still SHOULD make this one because it’s the best!)
1 to 1.25 lb asparagus
1/3 c. finely diced shallot
1 -2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/3 c. arborio rice
4 c. vegetable or chicken stock (unsalted if available); reserve 2/3 c.
1/2 c. white wine (optional but recommended)
fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp salt
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. parsley or torn spinach (optional, for color)
1 tsp. lemon juice
olive oil and fresh pepper for serving
Wash stalks free of dirt and grit.
Starting at root end of stalk, try to break off tough end,testing upward until stalk snaps. Discard root end. Peel lower stalk if desired.
Trim 1 – 1 1/2″ tip, set aside (you may reserve particularly picturesque tips for garnish; blanch or microwave-steam until bright green.)
Cut remaining stalk* into 3/4″ pieces down to where it begins to be less tender — you may only get one piece. Set these aside with the tips.
For the blender, chop remaining lower portion of stalk. *Also chop for the blender: over/undersized whole stalks, and any flowering or mushy tips.
Heat stock in microwave or stovetop to steaming.
Saute shallot in 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat, in a 4-6 qt saucepan or 10″ deep frying pan, until translucent. Add rice and a few grinds of fresh pepper; stir until rice turns opaque, about 10 minutes total. Use remaining olive oil here if needed, just enough to coat things thinly.
Add white wine to rice; stir until evaporated and absorbed. (Substitute stock if not using the wine.)
Add heated stock in 1/2 c. increments, stirring frequently until it is almost absorbed. You will use less stock in a saucepan than a frying pan so you may not need all the stock if using saucepan.
Add rosemary and 1/2 tsp salt after the first couple additions.
Meanwhile, add reserved 2/3 c. stock and water with chopped asparagus, lemon juice, and parsley/spinach to blender; blenderize until smooth (mixture will separate on standing)
Cook and stir risotto, continuing to add stock, until rice has increased in volume and starchy sauce begins to form. Test for doneness — rice should be firm but with no dry starchiness in the center (15-25 minutes.)
Adjust salt. Add reserved asparagus tips and pieces, cook and stir gently 3-5 min until crisp tender, adding liquid if needed. Stir in blenderized mixture to heat. Add cream cheese in pieces, stirring gently to combine while they melt.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil (an acidic extra virgin is wonderful) and fresh pepper; garnish with rosemary sprig or asparagus tips.
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I hope you enjoy my Asparagus-Asparagus Risotto as much as I have. My son and I went back for second helpings! Let me know what you think!