Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spinach & Asparagus Risotto

Alright, enough lagging already. I haven't been writing recently quite honestly due to a vicious bout of the lazies. I haven't really even been cooking. I know, shame, shame. What with a long drive home after a crappy day at crappy work, I just haven't felt like turning on the stove. Even though I have been quiet, there has been plenty happening in the world of food, especially if you have been paying attention to great sites like The Haphazard Gourmet Girls. There is the milk recall in China, and of course the 2008 Global Food Safety and Quality Conference, strangely enough also in China, where the heads of our esteemed food quality agencies are working hard to ensure tainted meat can still be shipped around the world.

But I digress. I recently posted how terrified I was of making risotto, as I tend to turn it into a form of aromatic industrial paste. With some gentle prodding from my lovely wife, I decided to try it again, and with very little help from the missus. Risotto is, in theory at least, pretty simple; in practice not so much. It really does have everything to do with adding just the right amount of liquid at the right time, and not over doing it. So, anyway, here we go.

Spinach & Asparagus Risotto

2 cups Arborio rice
1 - 2 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 qts. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, warmed in a separate pot
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Lb.(ish) spinach leaves, washed
1 Bundle of asparagus
Handful of Parmesan cheese

Chop the asparagus into 1 inch lengths. Set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan, and add rice. Stir to coat rice in butter as it cooks and turns slightly translucent. Add some olive oil or butter if it appears too dry. Once the rice is coated and turned slightly translucent, add the pieces of asparagus. Stir rice and asparagus for a few minutes until the asparagus begins to brown. Add the white wine and wait for it to be absorbed. Once absorbed, begin to add the stock 1 - 2 ladles at a time.

As the rice absorbs the liquid, watch it carefully. Add more liquid, 1 ladle at a time as it is absorbed. Taste the risotto periodically to check its consistency. Once it is just al dente, add the spinach leaves. Stir the spinach leaves into the risotto as they reduce. Once the spinach is incorporated, remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.

For a quick side, slice up a few early girl tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. If you are feeling frisky, add a few pieces of Orange & Wild Fennel Salame from Boccalone for a meaty contrast.

And, guess what? The risotto was a success! I didn't screw it up! One small step for man...