Risotto agli Asparagi (Asparagus)

With the asparagus in abundance this period, I knew that sooner or later I would be cooking risotto agli asparagi.  I had been resorting to cooking risotti lately because they are fast & easy to prepare.   Kid duties and cooking risotti can be concurrent because the latter part of cooking this dish doesn't need so much attention except a stir here and there coupled with adding the broth. 

The big challenge starts when my one-year old eats.  She had the sudden decisive moment of going independent in eating.  Hooray!  She loves eating rice.  Sigh.  Rice and novice spoon handlers don't go well together.  I'm trying to convince her that we don't need to refurbish the kitchen wall & floor yet  but she's determined to give it a new look....with rice.

Having only three main ingredients, the quality of each of the ingredients is instrumental in creating a tasty dish.  Asparagus has a mild flavour and it relies on another ingredient to perk up the taste which I found in pancetta affumicataParmigiano reggiano is almost always present in most risotto dishes and its main role is to make the food taste fuller and rounder. 

For the asparagus season, a bowl of this risotto would make a sumptuous meal for the little, medium and big members of the family. 

Risotto agli Asparagi (Asparagus)

Serves 4
  • 300 grams Arborio rice or any similar kind
  • 250 grams asparagus, tough ends discarded, chopped finely
  • 150 grams cubed pancetta affumicata (smoked pancetta)
  • 250 ml. or 1 cup white wine
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • a knob of butter
  • 1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
  • 4 cups hot vegetable broth
  • salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil 
  1. Boil a pot of vegetable broth.
  2. In another pot, sautè the onion in extra virgin olive oil.  When they start to color, add the pancetta affumicata.  Toast for about 5 minutes or until they start to turn brownish.  
  3. Add the asparagus.  Toss the ingredients together for about 10 minutes. 
4.  Add the rice.  Toast for 3 minutes.  
5.  Put the flame higher then add the wine. When the wine evaporates, put the flame down again.
6.  Ladle the broth to the risotto little by little and stir frequently so that the rice doesn't stick to the sides.  Season with salt & pepper.

7.  Turn off the fire when you see that the rice is already al dente.  Add a knob of butter.  Add the parmigiano reggiano.  
8.  Serve hot.