Asparagus and Sun-Dried Cherry Risotto
Perfect Spring-time risotto with asparagus and sun-dried cherries.
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or butter, divided
- 2 cups arborio, risotto rice
- 2 shallots, sliced thin
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 6-7 cups vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup sun-dried cherries
- 2 cups cooked chicken, optional
- 4 thin slices proscuitto, diced (optional)
- 3/4 cup Parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste
Chop the asparagus into short pieces, about 1/2 inch, leaving the tips whole. In a large saute pan, saute the asparagus in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes. Season with a little salt then transfer to a bowl.
In a separate pot, heat up the broth.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the same pan used for the asparagus and add in shallots. Cook for just a couple minutes on medium heat then add in rice. Toast the rice with the shallot for a couple of minutes. Add in the wihite wine and scrape up any browning from the bottom of the pan. Let 1/2 of the wine evaporate as you stir.
Then, start adding in hot broth 1/4 cup at a time. Use a wooden spoon to continually stir. Add in more broth once it is almost all absorbed. Continue to stir and add in broth. This gradual addition of liquid is key to getting the rice to release its starch and create its own delicious sauce, so don't rush this step. Ideally, you want to use just enough broth to cook the rice and no more.
Begin tasting the rice after about 12 minutes to gauge how far it has cooked. Add salt and other seasonings as needed. The risotto is ready when the rice is al dente (when it still has a bit of chew) and the dish has the consistency of thick porridge. If you run your spoon through the risotto, the risotto flow slowly to fill in the space. As the Italians say, risotto should be like "la onda," a wave that slowly rolls to shore.
Stir in the asparagus, cooked chicken, proscuitto, and sun dried cherries. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Finish the risotto with 1 tablespoon of butter (I usually start with olive oil then finish with butter so you can enjoy the buttery flavor), and 3/4 cup parmesan.
Serve with additional parmesan. Enjoy with a green salad and white wine.