31 March 2012

Risotto with Wild Asparagus & Sun-Dried Tomatoes


Did my Cooking Economics 101 on the subject of wild asparagus in the form of frittata and risotto as my professors in the supermarket suggested to me.  If you haven't read the frittata post yet, they are the supermarket employee and nice lady who gave me a crash course in dealing with wild asparagus.   I think I may have passed the test because in pure honesty, this risotto came out very well (as well as the frittata!) which, if not for Angela of Sapori dei Sassi's brilliant idea of adding sun-dried tomatoes to the usual wild asparagus, it wouldn't have come out extra good. 


I am not regretting that I paid an exorbitant price on these wild spears that cost like gold.  It's money well spent, with such good food using fresh ingredients.  i just wonder when I will encounter them again.  Unless, I join the countryside foragers for wild greens. 


Truth is, I am very interested in foraging on my own.  I was ready to do it in the area around our house but procrastination kept on winning on me.  Until yesterday, to my horror, I heard the unmistakable whirring of the motor of a lawn tractor nearby.  Looking out the window, my heart sank and got flattened along with the grass the guy on the lawn tractor was cutting.  I don't have anyone to blame but myself.  That was the morale to my procrastination, and i don't need to say it. 


Maybe another month and the grass will grow higher again and I will get my chance to sample the wild greens around my house but the chance to check if wild asparagus grow within our premises would have to wait until next year. 

Recipe adapted from Sapori dei Sassi (text in Italian).  I followed almost the whole recipe except  one minor change in the cooking process.  I put the wine after I toasted the rice which is how I am accustomed to.  In the original recipe, the wine went ahead of the rice. 



Risotto with Wild Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients:
Serves 4
  • 300 g. Valione Nano rice (or Carnaroli or Arborio)
  • about 250 g. wild asparagus (weighed after cutting off the hard part)
  • 25 g. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped coarsely
  • 25 g. butter 
  • 1 liter hot vegetable broth
  • 250 ml. white wine
  • 1 scallion or 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • grated parmigiano reggiano (optional)
Directions:
  1. Put water in a tall saucepan (if you have one) gauging the amount of water as almost the same height as the asparagus.  When it boils, put the asparagus vertically with the tips (about 2 cm. from the top) outside the water.  If you don't have a tall saucepan, just use a normal one and lay the asparagus diagonally making sure that the tips are out of the water.  This is because the asparagus tips are the most tender parts and the the stems are harder which need different amounts of time in cooking.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Drain.  Let them cool.
  2. Chop the asparagus coarsely and leave some tips for garnishing the plates later.
  3. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a cooking pot.  Add chopped scallion.  
  4. When they start to color, add the chopped asparagus.  Cook with high flame for a couple of minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.  
  5. Add rice and toast for about 3 minutes.
  6. Pour white wine.  Let it evaporate.  
  7. When wine has evaporated, ladle enough hot vegetable broth to cook the rice initially, like 1/3 of a liter (no exact amount).  Maintain a low fire.  Then ladle broth little by little until the risotto is cooked through.  Mix with the wooden spoon frequently to avoid sticking to the bottom.
  8. Almost at the end of cooking, add the sun-dried tomatoes.  
  9. When risotto is cooked, turn off fire and add butter and parmigiano reggiano (optional).  Mix well.
  10. Let it rest for a few minutes.
  11. Garnish with the asparagus tips you put aside.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.





10 comments:

  1. Absolutely wonderful! I couldn't help but make this tonight. It was light, springy, and had a ton of flavor. There isn't a single drop left! Wild asparagus is truly a treat!

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    1. I'm glad you liked it Michelle. We also enjoyed this risotto at home. Until the next wild asparagus bunch again! Thanks!

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  2. I am so going to try this after coming back to the US. I love risotto and when it's with my favorite sun-dried tomatoes, wow I got to try making this. Hope it will come out nice like yours! Beautiful pictures!

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    1. The flavors are good Nami. I love sun-dried tomatoes too. I think, yours will even come out better! Have a safe trip back home!

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  3. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I adore Italians and their love for food that they are happily willing to chat about! Beautiful recipe. And don't be too frustrated about not being able to forage your own wild aspargus for a while: There are other beautiful plants and vegetables you could grow! ;) Speaking about it... it's time to seed my basil. haha

    Cheers,
    Tobias

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    1. That's one thing I love here too. You end up speaking about food anywhere, with anyone, and anytime! I used to be an avid gardener, planting all the exotics I left behind, hoping to find comfort in their familiarity. I didn't think about the climate factor. :-) I only have a handful of survivors and I'm very protective of them. Good luck with your basil! I did the shortcut and already bought my basil and other herbs.

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  4. Your risotto looks wonderful! The wild asparagus here in Oregon should be poking through the ground at any time. When I get out and pick some, I will definitely try your recipe!

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    1. I envy you for being able to pick wild asparagus! This is one of the best ways to take out that wonderful flavor. I hope you will enjoy it!

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I would love to read what you think!