Friday, May 6, 2011

Champagne Risotto with Asparagus

Risotto has gotten a bad rap for being tough to cook. It does involve some time and stirring, but there is nothing difficult about it. This risotto can be served as an accompaniment with grilled fish, chicken, or steak. My favorite way to enjoy this dish is with a good Italian baguette for a light lunch or dinner. The best part about this yummy risotto is the remaining champagne to drink with with your meal!

Champagne Risotto with Asparagus
recipe adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (use vegetable broth for a vegetarian dish)
12 asparagus spears, cut in half if thick, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
1 cup Champagne
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.

Blanch the asparagus in the chicken stock for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside and keep the chicken stock at a low simmer.

In another medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat in the butter. Continue toasting the rice, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes more. Add the Champagne and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.

Add ½ cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. 

Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the asparagus, remaining butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 servings