Asparagus Risotto

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  • 1 bunch of Asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup Arborio rice (or substitute a short grain rice)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons, to taste, of white vinegar at the end)
  • about 5 1/2 cups chicken stock (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


Prep your asparagus:

Prepare the asparagus by breaking off and discarding the tough ends – take one or two spears and hold near the tip and the end and bend. It will naturally break at the tough part. Line up the tip ends with the rest of the asparagus and slice through all the spears at once where the first one broke. Don’t worry about waste, you’ll toss those tough ends in your stock.

Cook the rest of the asparagus to tender-crisp, then cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces (tips longer, base shorter.) If your asparagus is especially large, cut into smaller (bite-size) pieces. Set aside. See Cooking Asparagus in the Microwave or use your favorite method. Don’t discard the cooking water yet. You may need it later if you need more moisture in the Risotto.

Start the Risotto:

In a 3 or 4 quart heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add salt and pepper. Add the rice and cook for 3 minutes or so, stirring until rice is nicely coated in the oil and becoming translucent around the edges.

Cooking the Asparagus in the Chicken Stock:

While the onions and rice are cooking, bring the chicken stock and tough asparagus ends to a simmer in a saucepan. You’ll use the stock in the risotto & discard the tough ends of the asparagus (or use them in your green smoothies, later.)

Back to the Risotto:

Add the wine to the rice. Slowly stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine. Once the wine is almost completely absorbed, add 3 cups of the hot stock and stir, and continue to stir now and then (once every three or four minutes) for about 12 minutes until most of the stock is absorbed and the bottom is nearly dry. Use a whisk if using regular old rice.

Now add more stock in 1/2 cup increments to the risotto, stirring gently for about 3 minutes until the liquid is nearly absorbed. Repeat until rice is al dente, an additional three or four times. This should take about 15 minutes. (If your rice is absorbing the stock faster or slower than three minutes, adjust your heat.)

When finished, remove from heat. You want to end up with al dente rice and a creamy sauce – it will thicken a bit more when you add the Parmesan.

Gently stir in the Parmesan cheese, the butter, and the asparagus. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add additional stock or liquid from asparagus if it needs to be moistened. Risotto should flow like lava when plated. Serve immediately.