The first time I had this dish it was made with wild asparagus, which, although not essential, is even more intense in flavor. Whipping the asparagus into the butter seems to amplify the flavor of the asparagus. The asparagus butter can be served alone on pasta, polenta, or grilled fish. Keep a stick in your freezer. You can substitute artichoke bottoms or hearts for the asparagus.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 pound asparagus, stems peeled, chopped,
and blanched, tips set aside
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 leek, well washed and chopped
1 cup arbono rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 to 4-1/2 cups chicken broth or
canned low-sodium chicken broth
16 large shrimp, cleaned, deveined and roughly chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 rosemary sprigs, for garnish
To make the asparagus butter:
Place 2 tablespoons butter, the asparagus stems, and the basil in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and purée. Set aside.
To make the risotto:
Place a large, straight-sided, non reactive stainless steel, nonstick, or lined copper saucepan over medium-high heat and, when it is hot, add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add the garlic and leek and cook until they are transparent and soft, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir until it is well coated.
Add the wine and cook until it has been absorbed. Add 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring with each addition, until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add the asparagus tips, shrimp, and remaining 2 cups chicken broth and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Add the asparagus butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, stirring well after each addition, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide the risotto among 4 shallow bowls and serve immediately, garnished with the rosemary sprigs.
The Figs Table
More Than 100 Recipes for
Pizzas, Pastas, Salads, and Desserts
By Todd English and Sally Sampson
Simon & Schuster
Hardback, Price: $25.00
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created February 1999
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