Saturday, June 6, 2009

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

I had this for lunch the other day at a restaurant and it was so delicious, that I wanted to make it. After I made it, I gave a taste to my husband, Paul, and he liked it so much that we spent the next several minutes “spooning” it from the pan! This is quite an accomplishment, considering Paul usually won’t eat asparagus. Well, he will eat “just the tips”. But this recipe uses all of the asparagus and, well, if Paul couldn’t stop eating it, that says a lot!

1 Cup Arborio Rice
4 Cups Chicken Stock (or Vegetable)
1 Bunch of pencil thin asparagus
1 package of sliced white button mushrooms
1 cup of oyster mushrooms
1 cup of shitake mushrooms
1 large shallot
3 cloves garlic
½ cup Italian Parsley
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup white wine
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Pepper flakes

In a saucepan, heat the chicken stock until just simmering. Do not boil. Keep the stock hot while you continue the next steps.

Clean the mushrooms and chop into medium sized pieces. You can use whatever mushrooms you like, such as chanterelles or morels.

Mince the shallot. Heat a large pan and add 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Add the shallots to the pan and stir until translucent. Add the mushrooms and coat with the oil and shallots. Add some salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Continue cooking the mushrooms until they are golden and reduced and have reabsorbed their juices. Add ½ cup white wine and cook until all the wine is absorbed. Place in a bowl and set aside.

Clean the asparagus and cut off the tips and thinly slice across the asparagus. Add 2 more tablespoons of the olive oil to the pan and add the asparagus. Cook for a couple of minutes and add some salt and another small pinch of the red pepper flakes. Add ¼ cup white wine and cover. Reduce heat and cook until wine is absorbed and the asparagus is fork tender. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to the pan. Mince 3 garlic cloves and add to the oil. Stir so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the rice and coat with the oil. Add ¼ cup of white wine and stir until the rice absorbs the wine. Using a ladle, add one ladle of the hot broth at a time, stirring until the rice absorbs the liquid. This process should be slow to give the rice a chance to cook and release its starches. Cooking time for the rice process is about 30 minutes, depending on how long it takes to absorb all the liquid. It’s a good idea to heat some water just in case the rice requires more liquid. I had this problem last night where the rice wasn’t fully cooked, but had absorbed all the stock. So I added about ½ cup hot water and covered for 5 minutes, then tested the rice and it was perfect.
Add the mushrooms and the asparagus and combine. Check for salt, but remember there is a lot of sodium in the broth and cheese. Turn off the heat and add the cheese and combine. Add the parsley.