Been looking for another way to serve asparagus to your kiddos? Or just looking for one of the smoothest, creamiest, and tastiest risottos ever? Then you just have to try this risotto with asparagus.
It all starts with a good homemade chicken broth. So get out your big pot, your frozen chicken bones, and get boiling. Add a little aromatics in there if you wish. This is by far the tastiest way to start your risotto- with a juicy, fresh broth.
I like to do a quick boil of my asparagus beforehand; however, instead of plain old water, just drop them right in your chicken stock! That way you lose none of the flavor or nutrients.
Just a couple of minutes in the boiling stock should do it. Fetch your asparagus out and cut off the tips to save for the toppings, and discard the fibrous ends. You can give the stalks a rough chop up then.
Next comes the building of your flavor…butter, vegetable oil, and onions.
Cook the onions till they become translucent, and then add your chopped up asparagus (not the tips). Gently mix them in the flavor base and cook for a minute or so.
Then spoon the onion and asparagus out and place in a blender, trying to leave as much butter and oil behind in the pan for your rice, and blend up the onion and asparagus as fine as you like it. You will be left with a sort of cosmic looking creamy green sauce!
Now it is time to add your rice to the butter and oil, and cook like any other risotto (see recipe below for more details). I like to give the rice a couple of minutes in the butter and oil before I start adding the chicken stock, it gives it a little something extra.
Now start adding your chicken stock about 1/2 to 2/3 cup at a time and stir, stir, stir. Please do yourself a favor, have all your ingredients nearby (that includes the cut up bacon ends or pancetta), and it doesn’t hurt to have a glass of wine nearby. Because once the risotto train starts it is really hard to step away from it.
About half way through your chicken stock you can add the creamy green mixture to the rice. This way it gives it a bit of time to develop it’s flavor fully. Then keep adding the chicken stock. You will notice a bit more liquid at this time, but that is okay. Just keep at it.
While this is going you can quickly warm up your bacon ends or pancetta. Try not to get them too crispy, just enough to melt some of the fat and get slightly browned.
Once the risotto is done to your liking add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste (don’t forget their will be salt with the parmigiano and bacon). Remember risotto is all about texture- some like it runny and some like it thicker. I prefer to have a little tooth to my rice!
Then move to a warmed serving bowl, top with freshly grated parmigiano, your asparagus tips, and the cooked bacon ends or pancetta (with a little of the fat juice too).
I paired this with a nice pan roasted chicken with marsala wine, a fresh loaf of homemade bread, and a white wine. Followed by a small arugula and radicchio salad!
- 2 cups of arborio or carnaroli rice
- 1 lb or so of fresh asparagus
- 6-7 cups of homemade chicken stock (or any other kind)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3-4 tablespoons chopped onions
- ⅓ cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Start by making a nice pot of chicken stock. I always freeze my old chicken carcass and left over bones from a roast. Add it all to a big pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 3-4 hours. Add some aromatics if you like- celery, carrots, onions, etc. Once done strain it and leave out to cool on the counter, or bring back to a boil if you are ready to cook
- Wash your asparagus in cold water and place in your boiling chicken stock. Allow to boil for a couple of minutes only. Fetch the asparagus with a slotted spoon and put aside to cool. Cut off the asparagus tips to be saved as toppings for the risotto. Cut off the fibrous ends and discard. Then roughly chop up the stalks.
- Place the chopped onions, butter, and vegetable oil in a big pot and heat to medium high. Cook the onions till they become translucent, do not allow to brown. Once done add your chopped asparagus (not the tips) and mix gently in the onion-butter base. Cook for a couple of minutes.
- Remove the onions and asparagus from the pot and place in a blender, trying to leave in the pot as much of the melted butter and oil as possible. Blend up the asparagus and onions to desired consistency, and set aside.
- Add the canaroli or arborio rice to the melted butter and onion and cook over medium high and mix well. Cook for a couple of minutes.
- Begin to add the chicken stock ½ to ⅔ cup at a time, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Make sure to keep stirring and getting the lost pieces of rice from the sides and those that may start sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the liquid has greatly diminished add another ½ to ⅔ cup of stock and repeat, over and over again till the stock is about half gone (roughly 10 minutes or so).
- Then add the creamy asparagus and onion blend and mix well. Then start adding the stock like before for another 10 minutes or so. During this time quickly heat up the pancetta or cured bacon ends in a small fry pan. Cook till some of the fat melts and the meat slightly browns- try not to bring it all to a crisp.
- After 20 minutes or so taste your rice for 'doneness'. You are looking for a little bite to your rice, not soft all the way through.
- Once it is done grind fresh black pepper and salt to taste- remember that the meat and cheese will have some salt too. Then pour risotto into a warmed serving bowl and top with the freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, pancetta/bacon ends, asparagus tips, and parsley. Serve!
Goes well with a nice pan roasted chicken with some marsala wine and onions.
Remember- you do not have to blend the asparagus and onions. You can serve them whole. This is just another way to eat some tasty asparagus, especially for those with finicky children. I do have to say though, that I love the creaminess of this dish. It is nice all around with the slightly crisped pancetta and asparagus tips on top.