Risotto can be flavored with all kinds of ingredients. Asparagus is a perfect complement to risotto. The delicate taste of asparagus blends perfectly with the cheese, and the decoration with the asparagus spears makes for a spectacular presentation.
1 lb (450 g) asparagus
5 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 + 2 tablespoons butter
4 oz (100 g) onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups (300 g) arborio rice
salt and pepper
1/2 cup white wine
4 – 5 tablespoons parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly grated
Cut away the hard ends of the asparagus. Cut the spears away from the asparagus and reserve. Cut the stems in 1/2 inch (1 cm) long pieces. Warm the broth to a simmer.
Put 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, and turn the heat to medium. When the butter starts foaming, add the onion. Sauté' until the onion is soft.
Add rice, stir for about 2 minutes, and add salt and pepper.
Add the wine, and stir for about 2 minutes until absorbed.
Add asparagus stem and one quarter cup broth. Stir to prevent the rice from sticking to the pan. When the rice begins absorbing the liquid, add more broth.
Repeat this step of adding the broth and stirring, keeping the rice at the consistency of a dense paste.
After about 12 minutes, add the asparagus spears.
Continue adding the broth and stirring as indicated above.
After about 18 minutes, add the rest of the butter, parmigiano reggiano cheese, and continue stirring and adding broth. The rice will be ready in about 2 more minutes, when al dente (firm but not too soft or overcooked). Cooking time may vary. Let the risotto set for about 2 minutes. Serve hot.