Living with vegetarian me (though I eat dairy and sometimes fish), is not idyllic for a meat-eating man. He’s never complained, and I try to make it possible for us both to enjoy meals. Asparagus risotto lets us meet in the middle as a main dish for me and a side one for my husband. It’s not too difficult, time consuming, or expensive and it is flavorful, meatless, and satisfying.
Marguerite Marceau Henderson has it in her book Small Plates, Appetizers as Meals. I’ll give her credit because I most closely followed her version, but an earlier one I had was from
Bon Appetit. Recipes evolve and Henderson’s newer version keeps the asparagus fresher, though she loads in twice the cheese. Oh well, proportions are meant to be adjusted to individual flavor that doesn’t compromise the science of making it successful.
4 to 6 servings (I halve recipes unless I want leftovers.)
2 T olive oil, 1 bunch fresh asparagus spears with ends trimmed and cut into 1” pieces, 1 tsp kosher salt
In medium skillet, heat olive oil and add asparagus and salt. Toss; cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often until bright green. Set aside.
5 T butter, divided
2 large shallots, chopped (Or one onion. She’s fancier than me.)
2 C Arborio rice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
6 C warmed broth (She says chicken, I say vegetable.)
2 C green peas, thawed (She says petite, I say let’s use what’s in the freezer.)
1 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 C chopped fresh chives for garnish
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
In a large saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons butter and saute shallots until soft, about 4 minutes. Add rice, stirring to coat with butter and shallots. Add salt, pepper, and 1 cup of broth. Stir; cook over low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed. Add another cup of brother (continuing the process so that the liquid is being absorbed by the rice); repeat until all the broth is used. After 25 minutes or so, rice should be tender. Add peas, cooked asparagus, cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook 1 minute more over low heat. Remove from heat. Serve risotto with chopped fresh chives and grated Parmesan cheese as garnish.
Serve with salad, wine, bread if desired, and oh yes, that meat. Lovely.