My mother has been telling me about this asparagus risotto for a little over a year now. She adapted the recipe from one printed in Gourmet last spring as well as from one Mark Bittman in the New York Times. The recipe calls for puréeing about a pound of cooked asparagus and stirring it into the risotto in the last five minutes of cooking. The purée allows every bite of this risotto to burst with the taste of asparagus and the tips provide a nice crunch as well as additional flavor.
This risotto is best eaten the day it is made mostly because the asparagus pieces deteriorate a little bit after a day or two. That said, Ben raved about this dish even two days later. On Friday, after being in the field for a week, Ben shoveled down two bowls, wiping his dish clean with a nice hunk of bread. Then he turned to me and said, “You should blog about this.” Sometimes he knows just what to say.Print
Adapted from Gourmet and Mark Bittman’s recipe in The New York Times
I love how asparagus-y this recipe is. I made this today (May 8th, 2018) on Instagram stories: and was surprised how creamy and delicious it tasted with only 2 tablespoons of butter and no cheese. I eventually added cheese, but I think this could easily be vegan-ized by using olive oil and omitting the cheese.
I also used the asparagus-cooking water as the water for the risotto, and it worked nicely, so don’t feel you have to raid your freezer for stock.
2 lbs. asparagus4 to 6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil1 onion, diced finely to yield a cup1 cup semi-pearled farro or arborio or carnaroli rice½ cup dry white wine or prosecco1 heaping tsp. kosher salt½ to ¾ cup (or more or less to taste) grated Parmigiano Reggiano½ cup toasted, coarsely crushed hazelnuts, optional¼ to 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley, optional
- Prep the asparagus. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Trim off the asparagus tips and set aside. Divide the stalks into two equal portions. Coarsely chop one portion—this is going to get boiled and puréed. Chop the remaining portion into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices and set aside with the tips. Boil the coarsely chopped asparagus stalks until soft, about five minutes. Use a spider or slotted spoon to remove the stalks from the pot and transfer to a colander. Rinse quickly under cold water or put in ice water; then drain and transfer the asparagus to a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth. Set aside. Boil the asparagus tips and thinly sliced stalks for 2 minutes more; then use a spider or slotted spoon to remove the asparagus pieces from the pot and transfer to a colander. Rinse quickly under cold water or put in ice water. You can use the pot of asparagus-cooking water as your risotto making liquid if you wish.
- Make the risotto: Put stock or water in a medium saucepan over low heat. (If you are using the asparagus water, there’s no need to do this.) Put butter in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium heat. When it is hot, add onion, turn heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally until it softens, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add farro or rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add white wine or prosecco, stir, and let liquid bubble away. Add the salt. Add warmed stock (or asparagus water) ½ cup or so at a time, stirring occasionally. Each time stock has just about evaporated, add more.
- After 30 minutes, begin tasting the risotto. You want the grains to be tender but with a bit of crunch; it could take as long as 45 minutes total to reach this stage. When it does, stir in the asparagus purée and the remaining pieces of asparagus, being sure to drain the asparagus pieces first.
- Stir to combine. Remove skillet from heat, add cheese, hazelnuts (if using), and parsley (if using). Stir. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.