Posted by: njbrown | January 7, 2011

Fabulous asparagus and sun-dried tomato risotto


Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomato Risotto

Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomato Risotto

Adapted from posting by Elise on Mar 2, 2008

For years, I have enjoyed risotto in restaurants, but the thought of standing and stirring for twenty minutes had deterred me from ever making it.  (Also, having seen Gordon Ramsay go ballistic over improperly-made risotto with his young chefs added the intimidation factor.)  However, this week, my sister sent me a recipe, and the bright green of the asparagus and the cheerful red of the sun-dried tomatoes motivated me to give it a whirl.  (I assured myself that Gordon would never know if it wasn’t up to his standards.)
Twenty minutes is a long time to stand and stir.  I can do hours of standing to make a gorgeous dessert, but then I get to move around.  Also, it usually doesn’t involve standing over the hot burner for an extended time.  All that being said, this is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.  It is definitely worth the effort!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1/4 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 1/4 cup water)
  • About 3 1/2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian option), can substitute some of the asparagus cooking water for stock*
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (can be made without)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

1 Prepare the asparagus by breaking off  and discarding the tough ends (about the last inch of the spear). Cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces (tips longer, base shorter). If your asparagus are especially large, cut into even smaller (bite-size) pieces. Bring a saucepan with a quart of water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus pieces for 2 minutes. At the end of two minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the asparagus pieces to an ice water bath to shock the asparagus into a vibrant green color and to stop the cooking. Drain from the ice water bath and set aside.

2 Pour boiling water over the sun-dried tomatoes.  Let soak for 20 minutes, then drain and chop.

3 In a 3 or 4 quart saucepan, heat 3 Tbsp butter on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring until nicely coated.

4 While the shallots are cooking, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan.

5 Add the wine to rice. Slowly stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine. Once the wine is almost completely absorbed, add 1/2 cup of stock to the rice. Continue to stir until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, adding more stock in 1/2 cup increments. Stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of stock at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite – about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Note the stock amount given is approximate. You may need a little more or less. If you end up needing more stock and you find yourself without, just use water or the cooking water from the asparagus.

6 Gently stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining 1 teaspoon butter, and the asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Nancy

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