This is a light dish with an interesting zest to it. It’s citrusy and creamy at the same time. It gives off a play of flavors into ones palate.
2-1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed, tips cut off and reserved
8 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 white onion, finely chopped
3-1/2 cups arborio rice (1 pound)
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (3 ounces) or cream cheese
Freshly ground pepper
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
How to cook:
In a medium saucepan, cook the asparagus tips in boiling, salted water for around 2 minutes or until tender. Transfer the asparagus to a colander and rinse with cold water; drain well.
Cut the asparagus stalks in half and cook them in the boiling water for 10 minutes or until they are tender. Set aside the asparagus broth. Puree the stalks and 1/3 cup broth in a food processor. Pour into a sieve to separate the cream; makes around 2 cups.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil. Add the shallots and cook in low heat for 4 minutes. Make sure you stir frequently. Once they are soft, add the garlic and onion. Saute for 2 minutes or until ingredients are light brown. Mix in the rice, making sure the grains are covered in oil. Pour in the wine and stir for 2 minutes until it evaporates.
Add a cup of stock and stir until it is absorbed. Stir constantly. Continue to add stock a cup at a time. After 15 minutes, mix in the asparagus puree. Cook for another 4 minutes until rice is tender but firm to the bite. Stir in the asparagus tips.
Remove from heat and mix with butter, parmesan and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and top with lemon zest. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.
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Photo Courtesy of: frabattista