Calories per portion 480
Ingredients (Serves 4)
2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups of Carnaroli rice (Vialone Nano would be the best choice if available)
½ glass of white wine
¼ gallon of cold water
A bunch of fresh asparagus
Fresh thyme or basil (optional)
½ to 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon cold Butter (kept in the fridge till last minute)
This is a very delicate dish since asparagus is extremely light in flavor and that’s why the main difficulty is not to alter the taste. So we have to be careful choosing the rest of ingredients: the wine must be very dry and light, the broth will be made preferably with just the discarded part of the asparagus without other vegetables added. All these risotto recipes should be made with butter even for toasting the rice, but nowadays, trying to cut on calories, it is advisable to use oil instead.
Note: the image above, like many others on this blog, is just for quick reference and does not represent the final dish (in this case it is missing the asparagus tips as décor)
Take the asparagus and with a peeler gently remove the leaves (they look like thorns) on the side. Cut the white part off or, as many chefs suggest, bend the asparagus till it breaks. Put the discarded tails into ¼ gallon of cold water and bring it to the boil. Meanwhile, cut the asparagus tips, put them aside and chop the rest of the vegetables into small evenly cut pieces. Adjust the broth with enough salt (do not use stock powder because it will overpower the taste). Take a large stained steel pot, pour 2 tablespoon of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and bring it to start sizzling. Drop in half of the asparagus little chunks and let them lightly fry in the oil. Drop in the rice and let it toast. Pour the half glass of white wine, wait till it will evaporate and start adding broth to barely cover the rice stirring the risotto once in a while. Add one ladle of broth at a time and wait till rice surfaces before adding the next. Rice cooks in about 15 to 16 minutes, so when reaching half time we can add the rest of the asparagus chunks. Take a skillet and heat up one teaspoon of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Put in the asparagus tips and let them sizzle for few minutes adding a couple of spoons of broth. When the risotto is ready (don’t forget to taste it before adding the last ladle of broth and, in case, adjust it with salt), turn the heat off and add grated parmesan cheese. Mix it and when it will be all melted, grab a piece of butter right from the fridge, drop it in and work it quickly with a spoon to emulsion the risotto. Serve it in single dishes (do not bring risotto in a common bowl because it will overcook and get mushy) and add the asparagus tips as décor on top of each plate together with some fresh herbs like thyme or basil.