|w/ Pork stuffed something. I forget actually. I can get back to you on that||.|
To date the biggest fan of this blog said to me after she told me she had read it, "And I don't even like asparagus." She's only the biggest fan because she was the only one that acknowledged to me that she had read it - to my face. Despite that, I am still inclined to think that this is poised to be the best asparagus blog on the internet. It's not hubris when it's accurate. My next recipe is more involved than the last. It's not a difficult recipe, it's just one that takes your attention. Timing is an essential element. You don't want your risotto to be too wet . You also want to cook the asparagus long enough to not be under or over cooked while at the same time not under or over cook your shrimp. Above all else you don't want the strong flavor of the shrimp to downplay the subtle beauty of the asparagus.
About 3/4 of a bunch of asparagus chopped into bite sized pieces
1 small shallot - about 1 Tbsp diced
3/4 of a lb of shrimp (I like a heavy 3/4)
5 oz of arborio rice
1/2 a teaspoon of sea salt
2 table spoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of rice wine
3 1/4 to 4 cups of chicken broth
1/2 ounce of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon of butter
Heat up a large shallow pan. (Don't use cast iron - it will turn your rice black.) Add about two tablespoons of olive oil and the diced shallot. Let that heat up a bit and cook until the shallot has become almost iridescent. Don't let the shallot brown. Add the rice and let it toast for a minute. Add a quarter cup of rice wine, or if you have a bottle of white wine open that will work too. I discourage you from using red wine because that will stain the rice and you will have an awkward looking dinner. Let the wine simmer down and deglaze the pan. (Scrape all the browning from the bottom of the pan. This is a lot of flavor you don't want to go to waste.) Add two generous ladles of chicken stock. I highly recommend using your own home-made chicken stock. Again scrape the bottom. Keep stirring. Nothing should be sticking. Keep adding broth as it evaporates. About 3 and a half cups of broth will give you an al dente risotto. It's going to vary from place to place how long you should cook the rice. Stoves have a varying sense of hotness and altitude also plays a role. It's going to take longer than you think it should. It can got between 20 to 40 minutes. When you think the time is appropriate you should add the chopped asparagus. You want the asparagus to become tender, while keeping the rice wet with the broth. Keep this in mind. You can't make the rice less saturated so you shouldn't add too much broth after the asparagus. When the asparagus is at an appropriate level of tenderness - about half-done - you should add the shrimp. Stir and wait. Repeat. Wait until the shrimp has turned pink and turn off the heat. Add the butter and the cheese, and incorporate into the dish. You need to be cautious of overcooking the shrimp. The trick of the dish is to not over cook the shrimp, the rice or the asparagus. Good Luck!