The last time I had risotto was about eight years ago. I was somewhere in France with my mom and brother, and we found this cute little restaurant with dark wooden booths and dim lighting. I ordered a dish of mushroom risotto, and it was so incredibly rich that I was overwhelmed in just a few bites! I enjoyed what I ate it, but was left with the impression that risottos are rich and heavy and didn’t feel the need to order any for several years following.
That all changed during a luncheon at work. The Chefs made a spring pea risotto with fresh peas, pea shoots, and Creme Fraiche. The following weekend for lunch, our Sous Chef, Treaver, made a carrot risotto that tasted like the freshest carrots ever. After those two amazing risottos, I became temporarily obsessed and knew I needed to figure out how to make risotto on my own!
By the way…this recipe also taught me that I really need to keep my mushrooms straight. I am really not a fan of Shiitakes…Chanterelles and Morels are my favorites and that is what I would have used if I had thought about it!!
this reflects a few small changes to Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, which was based on a Gourmet recipe
4 cups chicken broth (one carton)
2 cups water
1 pound thin to medium asparagus, trimmed and cut 1 1/2 inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, separated
3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps cut into 1/4 inch thick slices (see note above – I would use Chanterelles or Morels instead)
1 cup fava beans (for a how-to on prep, visit this previous post)
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used JUSTIN Sauvignon Blanc)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
Bring broth and water to a boil in a 4-quart pot. Add asparagus and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer asparagus with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain in a colander and let air dry. Keep broth at a bare simmer, covered.
Heat oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then saute mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes. Add fava beans after two minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl.
Cook shallot in 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Ladle in 1 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is just tender and looks creamy, 30 minutes. (Save any leftover broth for thinning.)
Remove from heat and stir in the cheese, remaining tablespoon butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in asparagus, favas, and mushrooms, then cover pan and let stand 1 minute. If desired, thin risotto with some of remaining broth. Serve immediately with parmesan grated on top if desired.