Risotto with Asparagus
This is one of our favorite one-dish meals when asparagus is in season. I just use a couple of cans of Swanson's Natural Goodness chicken broth, which is very good, if not quite up to homemade. Risotto is easier than most people think, especially if you use a non-stick pot, which reduces the need for constant stirring a bit. Add a salad and a bottle of red wine and you're in business.
Risotto with Asparagus
Risotto alle Asparago
5 cups chicken broth
2½ tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
16 fresh asparagus stalks
2½ tablespoons butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Boiling water as needed
1. Put broth in saucepan and bring to boil; reduce to low simmer.
2. Cut asparagus on diagonal into 1-inch pieces; discard tough ends.
3. Heat olive oil in non-stick Dutch oven over medium heat.
4. Add onion to Dutch oven and saute until golden, about 3 minutes.
5. Add rice to Dutch oven and stir for about 2 minutes until all grains of rice are well coated with oil.
6. Increase heat to medium-high and add 1 cup of the heated broth, stirring constantly; when the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, add another cup of broth and continue stirring; repeat until all broth has been added.
Note: the rice will need 20 to 22 minutes to cook after it’s been added to the pot, so turn down heat if the broth is disappearing too quickly – you want it to be absorbed by the rice, not evaporated by the heat.
7. After 10 minutes, add the cut-up asparagus; continue stirring and adding broth until the asparagus is tender and the rice is al dente (firm to the bite but not hard), about another 10 minutes; cook a couple of minutes longer if you like the rice a little softer.
Note: the risotto should be quite soupy at this point; if all the broth has been absorbed, begin adding hot water as necessary.
8. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan, stirring carefully to blend the cheese with the rice without breaking up the asparagus.
Note: when it’s done, risotto should be creamy, not dry or soupy; add additional hot water if needed to obtain the proper texture.
9. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired; serve immediately.
Note: the amount of salt will vary depending on the saltiness of the broth you use; I usually add about ½ teaspoon.