Asparagus Risotto with Mushrooms and Toasted Pistachios
We've been having some "weather" in LA recently, more so than usual, and it's giving me the homestyle cooking bug. Insert, Risotto. It is one of my favorite dishes and makes me feel somewhat chef-like. I am partial to this dish since I can't have gluten and risotto is about as close as I can get to an authentic Italian experience without subbing for gluten free pasta. There is something about eating and and making risotto that reveals all its many layers to you. It's a dish you make when you have at least an hour to spend in the kitchen, but I promise you it will be well worth the wait and there is guaranteed to be leftovers.
- 1.5 cup Arborio rice
- 2 cups mushrooms - chopped
- 1 bundle of asparagus - break off the ends
- 1/4 bottle of dry, white cooking wine (like Pinot Grigio)
- 2 lemon (1 for risotto — just the rind, 1 for the carrots)
- 1 med block parmesan reggiano - shave about 1 cup and cube 1/4 cup.
- 4 cloves garlic - finely minced
- 3 tbspns fresh ginger - finely minced
- 2 medium shallots - chopped — no big chunks
- 6 cups vegetable broth — homemade is best. if so, no salt. either way, no or low sodium
- 6 tbspns olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bundle of Colorful carrots (optional, side dish)
**I’d start by heating your oven for the carrots. Then get your asparagus blanch water boiling. Then pop the carrots in the oven. Get the veg broth warming. Then start on the risotto. And then pick away at the other bits while the rice cooks. The rice takes a while — about 30 minutes. So get that goin’ the sooner the better.**
- Warm the veggie broth. Add veggie broth to pot and put on medium high heat, bring to a boil then back down to a boil. You want this to stay hot for the entire process, otherwise it’ll slow down the cooking of the risotto.
- Start the risotto. In a pot, add 2 tblsp olive oil, 80% of the aromatics: ginger, shallots, garlic and a dash or 2 of salt. Sauté on med heat for a couple minutes. Just til soft. Not brown.. Then add in the rice and stir. You will want to turn the heat up a little and cook the rice until it is toasted. Shouldn’t take long. Maybe 3 minutes. Then add the wine. Wait til it’s all cooked off so ur rice doesn’t taste boozey. Then start adding the broth. Do it one ladle at a time. Then wait for all the liquid to cook off. Once it does, add another ladle. Keep doing this. It’ll take about 30 minutes. You want the rice to taste al dente. A little resistance on your tooth. Not gummy. Somewhere in there, salt and pepper it to taste. But don’t do it just once. Keep tasting. Little bites. See if you think needs more salt/pepper. Or even wine. I like a sweeter risotto, personally. Then, at the very end, right before serving, fold in the asparagus puree. When you plate the risotto — go with a bowl where the risotto can spread out. Then top with the mushrooms and shaved parm. Sprinkle with nuts and parsley. Carrots can go on the side or on top of your risotto. The choice is yours!
- Asparagus puree. Blanch asparagus: In a pot, fill it up with lots of water and add lots of salt (so it taste like the ocean). Once it’s boiling, add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes until al dente. Should have a little resistance to the tooth but NOT mushy, at all. Strain asparagus and add to blender with 1/2c veggie broth and 1/4 cup of cubed Parmesan cheese. Add salt to taste. Blend (or use food processor). It will turn into a beautiful bright green foam. Set aside. We will use this at the end of preparing the risotto. Don’t add it into the risotto ahead of time or you’ll lose the beautiful color.
- Roast the carrots. Line baking sheet with tin foil. Lay out carrots and drizzle with some olive oil, salt and peper and squeeze lemon juice from one of the lemons over it. Cook the carrots with the lemon rinds in it. Meaning squeeze the lemon juice onto the carrots and then put the lemon itself onto the pan and bake it that way. Bake in oven at 390 degrees until charred. Should be black. I’ve read a lot on this. It’s not bad for your health and tastes sublime. You want them BLACK. Seriously. Try it. You’ll thank me. ;) xo Set aside but don’t let them get cold. Could put back in the oven at 175 to keep ‘em warm.
- Cook the mushrooms. Heat the pan. Then add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic, shallot and ginger, to your taste. DO NOT LET ANY OF THEM BURN. Take the pan off the heat if need be. You want them to soften. But burnt any of that tastes terrible. Give it a minute or two, once they’re smell, add the mushrooms. Don’t touch them. Let them brown. Don’t crowd the pan. They give off a lot of steam. Once they look beautiful, set aside.
- Toast the pistachios. Could do this in the oven. I did it right on the same pan as the mushrooms. Just toast them for a little bit. Nuts don’t like high heat so keep that shit low. Just til they smell nice, then your done.