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Asparagus Risotto

1. Trim about an inch off the ends of the asparagus. Cut top third of each asparagus stalk into 1/2 inch rounds, reserving tips and slices together. Coarsely chop the remainder for stock making. Bring the water to boil and add 1/2 teaspoon in a pot, then add the roughly chopped asparagus and cook, uncovered, until very tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a food processor and process with the garlic cloves and lemon zest. Set aside for later.

2. Add reserved asparagus tips and slices to boiling water and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to a sieve and rinse asparagus under cold water to stop cooking. Drain well and save for later. Add the bouillon to the asparagus water and keep at a simmer next to a big pot that will house the risotto.

3. Sauté the onions in the olive oil until softened in the big risotto pot, 5 to 7 minutes and add a bit of the pepper. Add the arborio rice and stir until the grains are covered with the oil and onions. Add wine and boil, stirring, until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute.

4. Now the fun part (I am sorry Amanda). Turn the heat down to a medium simmer on the risotto pot and add about a cup of the stock you just made and stir until the rice has absorbed all the water. Repeat until all of the stock has been used up. It could take a while. You don’t really have to stand over the pot stirring like a lunatic, but it will create strong arm muscles and a very creamy risotto.

5. Once all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, stir in asparagus purée, asparagus-tip mixture, and enough additional water to thin to desired consistency and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until hot, about 1 minute. Stir in cheese, then season with salt and pepper. Plate and sprinkle with hazelnuts and serve parmesan on the side. Eat up!

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– Ingredients –

2 pounds medium asparagus, trimmed
10 cups water
4 bouillon cubes or 2 tablespoons of “Better than Bouillon”
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
3 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 cup) plus additional for serving
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

– Author –

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