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    Rice and Risotto Recipe


 Asparagus Risotto


Serves: Serves 3 or 4

About 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 large bunch asparagus, about 1 pound
1/4 cup
extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms (1/4 inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup coarsely grated Fontina cheese
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest (optional)


Pour the stock into a saucepan, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, snap off the ends from the asparagus

and peel any tough skin from the stalks. Add the asparagus ends to the stock, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently

until the stems are tender, about 7 minutes. Remove and discard the stems. Slice the spears 1/4 inch thick on the diagonal.

Set aside.


Heat the olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Scatter in the mushrooms and do not move

them until they begin to brown, about 1 minute. Then season with salt and pepper, and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes.

Remove to a plate.

Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, season lightly with salt, and cook until soft but not brown, about 2 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the rice and stir until the grains look pearly white, about 2 minutes.

Add the wine, if using, and cook until the pan is nearly dry. Adjust the heat so the rice cooks at a slow simmer.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, stir, and cook until the pan is nearly dry again.

Season lightly with salt and pepper now so the flavor permeates the rice. Add another 1/2 cup of the stock and continue

to stir and cook, adding stock as necessary, until the rice is three-fourths cooked, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the thyme, mushrooms, and sliced asparagus tips. Continue to cook until the rice is al dente and the asparagus

is bright green and just tender, about 4 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, Fontina cheese, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the parsley and the lemon zest,

if using. Taste for seasoning. Dust with Parmesan before serving. Pass more cheese at the table.


Give the risotto an extra hit of flavor by adding the asparagus stems to the simmering stock for several minutes.