My love affair with risotto started when Mike cooked it for me on our second date. I wasn’t much of a cook back then and figured risotto was something he could make in my rice cooker. When he pulled out my pots and pans that had been collecting dust for years, I remember thinking I was in for something delicious…and, Wow – I’m dating a guy who can cook!
I’m going to admit that I’ve never actually made risotto before. Mike and I will be married five years this September and to this day, he still is the only one of us that makes it. It’s what I like to call his specialty… and it draws me in right from the beginning. As the smells intensify during the preparation, it makes me feel so loved… and incredibly hungry.
Mike doesn’t usually follow a recipe when he makes risotto because he’s made it so often he could do it with his eyes closed. However, he recommends a book called Risotto that he picked up long ago at Williams-Sonoma. It has several approachable risotto recipes all written by Pamela Sheldon Johns. And, for all you prop shoppers out there, the gorgeous plate I used is from Anthropologie.
I hope you feel as much love from this meal as I do.
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
7-8 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
3 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil the asparagus in salted boiling water until tender, 1-2 minutes.
2. Set aside in an ice bath to stop the cooking and maintain the green color.
3. In a sauce pan over medium heat, bring the chicken stock to a gentle simmer and maintain over low heat. 4. In a large, heavy pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.
5. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes.
6. Add the rice and stir until each grain is well coated with oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes.
7. Add the wine and stir until completely absorbed.
8. Add the simmering stock one ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition.
9. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed (but rice isn’t dry on top) before adding the next ladleful.
10. Remove 1/4 cup of stock to add at the end.
11. When the rice is almost tender to the bite but slightly firm in the center, add the asparagus and a ladleful of stock.
12. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is heated through and the rice is al dente.
13. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, cheese and reserved 1/4 cup of stock.
14. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
All images © Regan Baroni 2015.