Monday, April 18, 2011

Asparagus and Corn Risotto

Risotto is one of my most comforting dishes. The combination of the rich creaminess and dense flavor of the rice and the irresistible aroma that penetrates the entire house makes me feel very warm and comforted. There are endless possibilities with risotto. I know technically I am sure there are many rules, but I do not tend to cook by rules, I just cook by what tastes delicious to me at that moment. Right or wrong, it is how my mom cooks, and therefore how I cook. As a nod to our beautiful spring weather, this particular risotto features a crisp Napa Chardonnay (which we then paired with dinner), fresh asparagus, and sweet corn.  

1 Cup of Arborio rice
1 Tablespoon of Butter
1 Bunch of Asparagus, cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces
1/2 Can of Sweet Corn
 1/2 a Sweet Vidalia Onion, minced
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Cup of Chardonnay
4 to 5 Cups of Chicken Stock, heated
1 Lemon, juiced
1 Teaspoon of Rosemary (or really whatever herb you have fresh or whatever you prefer taste-wise)
Fresh Parmesan

1. Prepare everything before you begin. This makes for a much more pleasant risotto making experience. Prepping includes mincing 1/2 of the Onion and 2 cloves of Garlic, cutting the Asparagus stalks into 2 to 3 inch pieces (your own preference on size and cooking method, I use the microwave), drain the corn and pour half into a small bowl, cut your lemon in half, heating the Chicken Stock over the stove to boiling and then reduce the heat to the lowest level, and measure our your cup of rice and your cup of Chardonnay.

2. Heat the Tablespoon of Butter over medium-high heat in a heavy and large pan. Saute the Onions until browned, about 5 minutes. Add some salt and pepper or other seasonings at this point.

3. Add the minced Garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.

4. Add the rice to the pan and coat with the butter, onion and garlic mixture. Lower the temperature to medium. I like to do this for about 4 to 5 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed, but not all.

5. Add the cup of Chardonnay and stir the rice until the liquid is almost fully absorbed.

6. Add the juice of one lemon.
7. Then begin adding the chicken stock one ladle at a time, making sure the liquid is almost fully absorbed by the rice before adding the next ladle. This process takes between 20 and 30 minutes, and you really must stir continuously. So, have a glass of wine in hand and a good partner to chat with in the kitchen so that you can stand at the stove. Or, I have also found risotto making to be therapeutic and I really work out life problems as I stir, add liquid, stir, taste, add liquid....

8. At this point, I really have to start tasting the rice to see the consistency, you do not want it to have a bite but you do not want it to be mushy either. You want each individual piece of rice to be identifiable within the overall creaminess of the dish. I also taste at this point to see if I need to add more salt and pepper or other seasonings, I usually do.  

9. Add in your asparagus (I just heat this in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes in a microwave safe bowl with a teaspoon of olive oil) and sweet corn.

10. Right before your risotto has reached the perfect level of creaminess, add in your fresh herbs and as much or as little freshly shaved Parmesan as you would like.
11. I usually top mine off with more freshly shaved Parmesan and enjoy it with crusty bread and the rest of the Chardonnay!

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