Risotto with asparagus and fresh peas
This risotto makes a delightful first course for spring. For best results, use a high-quality Italian risotto rice, for example arborio or carnaroli. The cooking method described below — in which all of the liquid is added at once, instead of by the spoonful — is unusual but it’s convenient and works very well. I suggest you try it.
There are two stages to this recipe. First, make the chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer). This may be done up to a day ahead of time. Then make the risotto, beginning about 30 minutes before you plan to serve it.
1 pound (500 g.) green asparagus
1 pound (500 g.) fresh green peas
1 medium onion
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup (200 g.) Italian arborio rice or a similar rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 cups (1 liter) broth
2 ounces (50 g.) unsalted butter
2 ounces (50 g.) parmesan cheese, ungrated
1 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, snipped
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
First, prepare your ingredients. Make the broth. Wash the asparagus, trim off the bottoms and discard, and cut the spears into pieces about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. Shell the peas. Peel and chop the onion. Grate the parmesan.
When ready to cook the rice, bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a saucepan.
In a separate, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil to sizzling. Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the chopped onion and gently sauté, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the onion has wilted and is starting to turn blond.
Add the rice and stir well to coat it with the olive oil. When the rice becomes translucent, add the wine. Allow the wine to evaporate, then pour in the the hot broth.
Cover and cook for 10 minutes over low heat. Add the asparagus and the peas and cook for 5 minutes more.
Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper and mix. Add the parmesan, butter and parsley but do not mix. Simply cover the pan and let it sit for 2 minutes.
Now mix the risotto, lifting the rice to blend well with the other ingredients. Serve at once. Serves 4 as a starter, 6 as a side dish.