This is the story about a turning point in my life as a (very) amateur chef. Believe it or not, before I learned how to make the following recipe, I relied on ramen, dorm cafeteria food, and 99 cent pizza for sustenance after I graduated high school and shipped off to college. Total noms indeed.
I was taught how to make this creamy, savory rice dish when I was studying abroad one summer in Perugia, Italy. I was guilty of spending most of my euros on pizza, gelato, and other Italian treats, and rarely took advantage of Perugia’s markets and local groceries. But really, could you blame me?
One of my apartment-mates was a girl from England, Lucy, who took pity on me and my lack of culinary skill and pried me away from an admittedly expensive reliance on restaurants and pizzerias. She had been a live-in chef at some rich people’s Swiss ski chalet (tough life), so one night, she decided to teach me how to make this, the most decadent yet surprisingly simple of rice dishes.
The rest, as they say, is history. A foodie was born.
Since then, this has been a staple in my dinner rotation- in fact, since the day I started this blog, my mother has begged me to put up my recipe for risotto. The great thing about this dish is that you can use whatever is in your pantry; any vegetables, herbs, or even meats work wonderfully. I had some beautiful asparagus and leftover mushrooms from the pizzette I made, so these featured front and center this time around.
A lot of people have the misconception that risotto is hard to make or requires tons of surveillance- and while making risotto does require some stirring, that’s about the extent of cook time labor. It makes a perfect side dish to roasted meats, but also stands on its own just fine as a quick and easy supper. Go nuts!… speaking of, pignoli nuts would go great here too… anyways, here goes!
Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- salt and pepper
- 4-6 stalks asparagus, chopped into smaller bites
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped coarsely
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 to 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1. Over medium heat, heat up the olive oil in a large saucepan with deep sides. Add the onions and garlic and stir, for 2-3 minutes until softened and slightly brown.
2. Add the rice and allow to toast in the garlic, onions and oil for another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper. Add the asparagus and saute until the green in the vegetable really pops, another minute or so.
3. Add the white wine, stirring to scrape up any brown bits. Allow to simmer until almost absorbed. Continue by adding the chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time, only adding when the previous broth has been mostly absorbed. Stir every so often to keep rice from sticking to the pan.
4. When all three cups of chicken broth have been added, stir in the mushrooms, rosemary and thyme until incorporated throughout. Drizzle the lemon juice and continue to stir. Finally, add the cheese and give a final few stirs until the rice becomes creamy.
5. Serve and enjoy!
What are your favorite add-ins for risotto?