It is that time of year when asparagus is in-season. Who doesn’t love the earthy, al dente crunch of a fresh, lightly seared asparagus stalk? It’s loaded with health benefits, and it is totally versatile. I’ll have two recipes for you this week, which use up some of the fresh asparagus my parents have growing in their garden. The second will be an asparagus and sweet potato omelette. (Look out for it later in the week).
But first, check out this recipe for creamy Asparagus Risotto by clicking on the title of this post or the “read more” link.
- It’s detoxifying and contains antioxidants, which help to breakdown harmful free radicals in our bodies that can contribute to the growth of cancer cells.
- It’s loaded with vitamins. In particular, it has vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as chromium and other trace minerals.
- It’s anti-aging (whatever that means, lol) and it’s a natural diuretic. (That just means it will help you pee, making it easier to eliminate toxins and waste from your body).
Asparagus can also be cooked in a variety of ways. You can steam it, bake, broil, sear, stir fry it, or even eat it raw. This time, I decided to add it to a risotto, because I’ve been meaning to make risotto for quite some time, and asparagus is awesome in risotto!
I mentioned earlier that risotto is a labor of love because it requires constant stirring. The reason for that is because risotto is made with a special, short grain, Italian rice (Arborio) that is naturally very starchy. Slowing adding liquid and constantly stirring, releases the starches gradually, which gives risotto its creamy texture.
What if you don’t have Arborio rice on hand? Well, you could still make it with another type of rice, but it will not be rich and creamy. You’d have to probably add a bunch of butter and cream, which is not the healthiest option. Plus…well…it really wouldn’t be risotto because risotto is made with Arborio.
Makes about 6 servings
Cooking time: approx. 30-40 minutes
- Bring vegetable stock to a boil, then let it simmer to stay hot. (About 3-4 min)
- In a separate medium sized pot over med heat, sauté onions in butter, then add pancetta. (About 2-3 minutes)
- Add ½ cup of white wine and the Arborio rice. Stir continually, about 2-3 minutes, until the liquid starts to soak into the rice.
- Add about 1 cup of the hot vegetable stock and continue stirring, about another 4 minutes. The liquid will again, eventually get soaked into the rice.
- Keep alternating between adding about a cup of liquid, stirring for a few minutes, and letting the liquid soak into the rice. The whole process should take about 20-25 minutes of constantly stirring, and adding liquids.
- When there is still about 10 minutes of cooking time left, add in the asparagus, green peas, and season with parsley, salt and pepper.
- Continue stirring and cooking until rice is your desired consistency: creamy and soft, but not mushy, and the asparagus is al dente (not too hard, but not mushy – I know, very technical).
- Don’t worry if you have left over broth. You can simply save it for later use. At the same time, if you run out of broth, but the rice isn’t cooked fully, just continue to add hot water, one cup at a time.
- You must keep stirring. Not only will this allow the starches in the rice to release gradually, but it will also keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Because it is so creamy, it will eventually stick if left alone.
- You can add some Parmesan cheese if you want it to be really creamy.