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Asparagus Risotto

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Image(Serves 4 as a first course or 2 as a main course)

About 4 cups chicken stock or broth, vegetable stock is ok too

1 bunch asparagus, about 1 pound, thick or thin, either is fine
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium cup onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup Fontina or Jack cheese, grated (I've even used brie)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Simmer the stock with the tough ends of the stems of the asparagus. Season the stock with a couple teaspoons of salt. Remove and discard the stems after 5-10 minutes. Slice the asparagus into 1/4 inch thick diagonal slices.

Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the onion, and cook until soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains become opaque and white, another 2 minutes.

Add the wine, if you desire, and cook until it evaporates. Add 1/2 cup of the stock at a time, stirring and cooking until the rice is nearly dry. Add another 1/2 cup of the stock and continue to stir and cook, adding stock as necessary, until the rice is almost cooked, about 15 minutes. Stir in the asparagus slices. Continue to cook until the asparagus is just barely cooked, about 3 minutes or so. Risotto should take 18 minutes total cooking time.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and cheeses. Let the risotto sit in the pot for a couple of minutes before serving. It should be soft and runny, not firm. If it is too dense, add a spot more liquid. Taste for seasonings--salt if necessary. Serve with more Parmesan cheese to top. Risotto should be al dente, not as soft as regular rice. 

(AS) 

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