Risotto has always scared me for some reason. As much as I love it rarely order it in restaurants do to the fact that so many of them make them the fast way with cream – and I’m lactose intolerant. I decided to try and make it the real way, which does involve some time and frequent stirring. You must use Arborio rice, which will turn creamy and amazing, unlike regular rice. It can be found quite easily. This recipe is changed slightly from this recipe.
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 pound asparagus (take off ends and cut into 1/4 inch thick pieces, leave tips 1 1/2 inches long)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1 package of fresh shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 small zucchini julienned or sliced very thin
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or more to your taste)
salt & pepper
Bring broth and water to a boil in a 4-quart pot. Add asparagus and cook, uncovered 3 to 4 minutes. Place asparagus with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain and pat dry. Keep broth at a bare simmer, covered. Julien zucchini and set aside.
Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and saute mushrooms, until browned, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then put aside into a bowl.
Cook onions in 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan over medium heat, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Ladle in 1 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, around 2 minutes. Continue simmering and adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding next, until rice is just tender and looks creamy, around 20 minutes. (I had around 1 cup of broth left over that I saved for thinning and reheating risotto later)
Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese, remaining tablespoon butter, and salt and pepper to taste.
Gently stir in asparagus, zucchini and mushrooms, then cover pan and let stand 1 minute. Plate and serve as soon as possible with remaining cheese sprinkled on top. A nice side salad would accompany this dish nicely!