Asparagus and Spinach Risotto
I am dedicating this week to my sister and foods that she will enjoy reading about, so no fish, no mushrooms, the list is longer, but those are the two biggies that make her nose curl up and bring out the 12 year old living inside of her.
I was in Atlanta recently visiting the family and made a risotto with asparagus and spinach. Risotto used to be on the list of foods that my sister didn’t like, rice was an issue, but I discovered on this trip that she now likes risotto! A great discovery because my mother is allergic to wheat and making pasta is always an ordeal, making a small pot with corn pasta for her and the big pot for the rest of the hungry.
I have yet to find good Italian rice here in the States, I have only been able to find arborio, and it always tastes like it has been sitting on the shelf in the grocery store for years before I lay my hands on it. I am also having this experience with pasta, I guess that the whole anti-carb movement has affected pasta and rice sales and I am the only one who buy them.
Asparagus & Spinach Risotto
- 1 cup of Carnaroli or Arborio rice (Italians measure rice by demitasse cups, 1 cup for each person and one for the pot)
- 1 bunch asparagus, about a pound
- 3 cups of baby spinach, leaves left whole
- ½ an onion, chopped finely
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup of dry white wine
- 2 tbsp butter
- a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
- grated parmiggiano-reggiano, to taste
- salt to taste
Bring a small pot of water to a boil for the asparagus. Break the ends of the asparagus stalk and discard, break the rest of the stalk into 1-inch pieces and rinse well before adding to the pot of boiling water. Let the asparagus boil for about 2 minutes to get the cooking process started.
In the meantime chop the onion into fine pieces and bring the broth to a simmer. Heat a large stovetop casserole pan over medium-high heat and melt butter at the bottom of the pan. When the butter is melted add onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add rice and coat it in the butter, toasting it a bit. When the rice becomes opaque, after about 1 minute, add the wine to the pan, enough to cover the rice, stir frequently.
When the rice has absorbed the wine, add a ladleful of broth to the pan and continue stirring. Repeat, once the rice starts to absorb the broth add the asparagus. Continue adding the broth as the rice absorbs it, you want it to almost dry out before adding the broth each time.
When the rice is finished it should be al dente and all of the liquid should be absorbed. Remove from heat and toss in the baby spinach leaves and the chopped parsley. Serve immediately with grated parmiggiano-reggiano.