Thursday, April 30, 2009

Asparagus Risotto and Goat Chese...

The 5 mile walk to support the Animal Humane Society is just two short days away! With your incredible support, we have already surpassed our Team Gus goal and our total so far is over $1100! Wow! Donations are still being accepted for this very much needed organization and in these tough times they really could use a boost as they support almost 40,000 animals. Any pledges, small or large, would be greatly appreciated!

If you would like to support us, please check out our donation site! The banner above goes to the team site if you would like to pledge a team gift, while the donation link here goes to my personal support page - both go into the Team Gus pool!

Lovely stalks of asparagus continue to flood into the market and we're definitely continuing to take advantage of the fresh springtime vegetable! We've been heavier on the meat consumption this week, so this Asparagus Risotto with Goat Cheese sounded like just the ticket to make as a veggie meal for dinner tonight!

Before we began working our arm muscles out by stirring the rice round and round, this recipe had you prepare the asparagus in two ways so you experience them in different forms - deep inside the risotto and cleanly on top. First, we sliced a good section of the tips off from each spear and gave them a quick three minute dunk in the bubbling vegetable broth that will later be used to cook the rice. These are then set aside and will be used to set off the top of the creamy rice below it.

The rest of the spears (minus the tough ends) are thinly sliced on the diagonal and added with the onion to begin the softening process. When the onions had softened, we stirred in the starchy grains of Arborio rice and pushed them around until they were coated in the residual oil and mixed in with the onions and asparagus. When the rice was hot and accepting of the liquids, we first added a healthy dose of white wine to give the grains a sharp edge. Next came interval ladles of vegetable broth, only being added once the broth before it had been absorbed. The time needed to cook and total amount of the broth needed will depend on how high of heat is used and how much liquid the grains accept before they start to turn mushy.

For us, this took about 15 minutes or so once we began adding the broth. Sometimes you use all the broth called for, other times you have some left - we've even had times when we've needed add additional liquid because the rice still wasn't ready! Don't let that scare you away from trying risotto if you haven't yet - just keep testing a couple grains of rice here and there when it gets close to the time called for. The rice should be tender, yet still have a pleasant nibble in the middle that's firm - you also want to make sure you've added enough liquid that the mixture is still a little loose. Saying that, this isn't rice soup, so don't make it swim! When it hit that point, we took the skillet off the heat and stirred in nutty Parmesan cheese and a generous dose of soft goat cheese to melt in.

Once the risotto was placed on the plates, we arranged those crisp-tender green tips on top for a contrasting texture and pop of color, then added a bit more Parmesan on top as a finishing touch. I noticed right away that Jeff was picking at the tender slices of spears inside and told him "Just try it already!". He did and then the picking stopped - score! He was afraid they were going to be too mushy since they cooked in the risotto for quite a while (that darn texture thing!), but he quickly found they still had enough oomph to them. I liked how the goat cheese brought an assertive tang, while also enhancing the creamy aspect already found in the dish. You could serve this as a swanky side dish if you cranked up the portions to six, but we opted to have it as a filling main and kept the size to four.


  1. Congratulations for raising all that money!

  2. Have fun tomorrow!


  3. Ohh, that looks delicious! Love goat cheese, love asparagus, and love creamy risotto... this dish can only have turned out delicious!
    Great job raising the money Joe! Have fun on your walk!

  4. Helene - Thank you!

    Quinn - We had a blast!

    Ana - Thanks!