Here is a beautiful spring risotto, with asparagus. Enjoy!
Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Risotto recipes here and here. Or you might like to browse Asparagus recipes here and here. Check out our easy Spring recipes here and here.
If you’ve never made risotto before, we recommend that you read the following:
There are a few risotto rices available. Rices suitable for risotto have a creamy, chewy texture due to its higher amylopectin (one of two components in its starch) content. Aborio is a very popular risotto rice, but it is fun to experiment with different rices. Your Italian grocery will most likely stock alternative risotto rices. There is an argument that aborio is not the best rice for risotto. Most recommended alternatives are carnaroli and vialone nano. Currently I have been using Riso Vialone Nano, and it is a cracker. Vialone Nano has a round, thick grain and a kernel that is very unlikely to break. It is good for risottos with robust ingredients- and it is now a favorite.
(If this is the first time that you are making risotto, read Basic Risotto first)
|5 cups water||sea salt||1 bunch asparagus (about 12 spears)|
|2 Tblspn olive oil||25g butter + 1 Tblspn butter||1 clove garlic, finely chopped|
|1 small red chilli, finely chopped||300g risotto rice (see the note above)||50g parmesan cheese, freshly grated|
|0.5 cup loosely packed, shredded fresh basil|
In a large pot, bring the water to the boil and add the salt. Wash the asparagus if necessary, and trim the stalks, again if necessary. Cook asparagus in the water for 4 – 5 minutes. Drain the asparagus, saving the water, and allow to cool a little. Cut each stalk into three pieces, trimming any hard ends.
Bring the cooking water back to the boil.
In a heavy based pan, heat the oil and the butter, add the garlic and chilli and cook for 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir to coat; continue to make a basic risotto with the rice and using the cooking water. Stir the rice in the oil and butter for 2 minutes until you hear a cracking sound and the rice becomes translucent. Add a ladle of the water, and stir until it is absorbed. Continue adding more liquid in this manner until the rice is cooked.
Use a wooden spoon and make sure that you stir the risotto often, especially toward the end of the cooking time. This brings out the starch in the rice, which is what makes it so creamy.
Taste after 18 minutes. The rice should be firm to the bite. If you like it less chalky, cook for up to another 5 minutes, so that it is tender in the middle, but not soft. Remove the rice from the heat.
When the rice is cooked but still al dente, add the extra butter and cheese, and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until all the butter and cheese is incorporated, adding a little more stock if necessary to keep it moist and soupy. Add the basil and asparagus and mix through.
Season, cover and rest for two minutes and serve.
recipe notes and alternatives
Splash a little dry white wine on the rice before adding any stock. Stir until the wine is absorbed, and then continue.
Top the risotto with goats cheese, if desired.
Use chives in place of the basil.
If you can find some golden shallots, saute them in the butter and oil until soft and translucent before adding the rice.
This recipe is cross posted with our sister site, A Life (Time) of Cooking; it appears here as part of our Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2005.
browse some of the Risotto recipes