Spring Asparagus Risotto

This recipe comes from Clif Holt, chef-owner of Little Savannah in Birmingham, Alabama. It was published in the April 2009 issue of Cooking Light magazine. For those of you not familiar with Cooking Light, this is by far my favourite all-around magazine. They have healthy recipes, tips for living well, exercise routines, vacation destinations and cooking techniques galore. Cooking Light is also great because the recipes are not just healthy twists on old classics–they publish everything from current and trendy to comforting and messy without the interest of making your ass grow. They also focus on fresh ingredients relevant to the season. I turn to Cooking Light for just about everything and will refer to CL often.

Anyway, this spring asparagus risotto is fantastic. It took more stock for my batch than what was called for but it was no problem to get more simmering when I ran low with undercooked rice. The asparagus was in the pot for just enough time to get hot and bright green while maintaining a fresh, crispy texture. The dish was finished with Parmesan and cream (I used light cream instead). The end result was simply indulgent. I will definitely make this one again before spring is over.

Sidenote: While I was cooking, I started to think about making a sweet risotto with blueberries. Yes, I’m always thinking of making things with blueberries. However, if I were to use simmered milk instead of broth, blueberries and mascarpone (or maybe goat cheese?), I think I would end up with a brilliant dessert this summer. I’ll keep you posted if it pans out.

Spring Asparagus Risotto

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr; Published by: Cooking Light

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr; Published by: Cooking Light

4 cups (1-inch) slices asparagus (about 1 1/2 pounds), divided
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place 1 cup asparagus and 1 cup broth in a blender; puree until smooth. Combine puree, remaining 2 cups broth, and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup broth mixture; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining puree mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes total). Stir in remaining 3 cups asparagus; cook 2 minutes.

Stir in 3/4 cup cheese, cream, salt, and pepper. Transfer risotto to a bowl. Serve with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

8 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups risotto and 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese)

Nutritional Information
Calories: 283
Fat: 7.7g (sat 4.4g,mono 2g,poly 0.3g)
Protein: 10.5g
Carbohydrate: 44g
Fiber: 4.1g
Cholesterol: 23mg
Iron: 2.2mg
Sodium: 634mg
Calcium: 144mg
Clif Holt, Cooking Light, April 2009

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~ by canadianbaconette on May 1, 2009.

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