Asparagus Risotto

  • 1 pound asparagus, peeled, trimmed and cut into one-inch-long pieces, tips reserved
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon zest and juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmiggiano Reggiano.
  • ½ cup parsley for garnish.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add half the asparagus stalks and cook until soft, at least 5 minutes. 
Rinse quickly under cold water. Put cooked asparagus in a blender or food processor and add just enough water to allow machine to puree until smooth; set aside.

Put stock in a medium saucepan over low heat. Put oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add onion, stirring occasionally until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add white wine, lemon juice and zest, stir, and let liquid evaporate. Season with salt keeping in mind that the stock is already salted. 
Add warmed stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally. Each time stock has just about evaporated, add more. After about 15 minutes, add remaining asparagus pieces and tips, continuing to add stock when necessary. 

In 5 minutes, begin tasting rice. You want it to be tender but with a bit of crunch. When it does, stir in 1/2 cup asparagus puree. 
Remove skillet from heat, add remaining butter and parmiggiano and stir briskly, then taste and adjust seasoning. Risotto should be slightly soupy. Serve immediately with parsley on top.

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