kelly said

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23 July 2006

Asparagus Risotto with Lemon and Mint (Cooks Illustrated)

Asparagus Risotto with Lemon and Mint

Serves 6 to 8

To make this risotto vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. This risotto will serve 4 as a main course. To add flavor and bulk up plain risotto, top individual bowls with cooked, roasted, or grilled vegetables. Don’t fret if you have broth left over once the rice has finished cooking. We discovered that different brands of rice cook differently. Therefore, we prefer to err on the side of having slightly too much broth on hand rather than too little.

3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

3 cups water

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

1 onion , minced

Table salt

2 cups Arborio rice

1 cup dry white wine

1 pound thin asparagus (1 bunch), tough ends trimmed and discarded

2 ounces Parmesan cheese , grated (1 cup)

2 tablespoons minced fresh mint

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Ground black pepper

Lemon wedges (for serving)

1. Bring the broth and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and keep the broth warm over the lowest possible heat.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until lightly browned, about 9 minutes.

3. Stir in the rice and cook until the edges begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until it is completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.

4. While the rice is cooking, cut the asparagus spears on the bias into 1/2-inch lengths. Add the asparagus to the rice after the wine has been absorbed (about 5 minutes of cooking), then add 3 cups of the warm broth mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, about 11 minutes.

5. Continue to cook, stirring in roughly 1/2 cup of the broth every few minutes, until the rice is cooked through but is still somewhat firm in the center, about 11 minutes.

6. Stir in the Parmesan, mint, and zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.