Below is a passage from Erica's website:
For a long time I thought of risotto as a winter dish. I love the idea of coming home after a cold and hectic day and standing at the stove, stirring chicken broth into the softly sizzling rice while listening to my children talking at the kitchen table. The dark outside the windows, the lights above the table and the stove. It feels safe and comforting, and the risotto when you eat it feels that way, too.
But then spring comes along, with its crazy combination of hope and green shoots coming up in the yard, but cool weather when you least expect it. I want to get excited and run out there among all that green, but I still want to feel safe and warm.
Which leads us straight to asparagus risotto, and if I can convince you to find the freshest and most local asparagus you can to make this dish, I will sleep easier tonight. Because once you eat asparagus that has been freshly picked, not shipped from who-knows-where until it toughens into spears that yes, indeed, could be used for swords at the table just as every child instinctively wants to do – well, once you eat the good stuff, you will never go back. You will be willing to wait all the rest of the year until asparagus season comes around again. And you will be reminded that waiting and anticipation are not bad things – and that the rewards for doing so can be incredible.
So here’s a recipe for Lillian’s asparagus risotto, with the hope that you will feel inspired to play with it yourself, as Lillian would want you to do. What other fresh vegetables might you use in another season? How about adding some lemon zest? Grilled shrimp? The possibilities are as infinite as spring...
Spring Risotto Recipe
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 lb asparagus
3 T butter
3 T olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 1/3 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper (to taste)
lemon zest (optional)
Cut asparagus tips into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Cut half of the stocks into finely chopped pieces; cut the other half into 1 inch pieces.
Heat broth in a heavy saucepan. When boiling, add asparagus and cook until just tender (3-5 minutes). Take out asparagus with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Turn down heat under broth to a low simmer.
In a different heavy saucepan, melt butter and add olive oil. Add chopped onions and saute until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add rice and bay leaf and stir until well coated with the butter. Add wine and cook, stirring, until liquid has evaporated.
Add a ladleful of heated broth to the rice, stirring until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding a ladleful at a time, until broth is gone and rice is creamy but grains are still firm.
Add the asparagus and a pinch of lemon zest (optional). Add salt and pepper to taste. Put in a serving bowl and top with Parmesan shavings.
Prep time: 45-50 minutes (with much contemplative stirring)
This recipe seems like something I would cook! Has anyone tried Abuelita's hot chocolate? Sunday's weather would have been good for that.
Remember Thursday April 1st at 6:00pm we will be meeting with Erica Bauermeister!