A step-by-step process to make the perfect risotto! A classic Italian dish that is perfectly creamy and delicious, and packed with spring time flavors of asparagus and basil!
Well hello dear readers, are you enjoying my 4,000th asparagus recipe this month? My love for asparagus runs deep. I feel like if I’m not eating my weight in asparagus during the month of April, my life will not be complete. And I just have to add, I am absolutely obsessed with my new favorite way to make risotto. The creamy perfectly cooked risotto, pairs so well with crispy asparagus and fresh basil. Top with a little parmesan for more flavor, or leave it out for a dairy-free variation.
Have you ever made risotto? It can be a little daunting, but with the right tips, you may find it to be your new favorite dish to make. Because it’s so delicious. And hard to find in a restaurant. A few years ago, I attended a semi-private Italian cooking class in the Tuscany region of Italy. I learned from the chef that the secret to perfect risotto was to stir, stir, stir, and stir some more!! To fully promote the release of the starch and create that “creamy” perfection, constant stirring keeps the rice well distributed in the stock.
We start with 1 cup of a dry white wine. This wine will really absorb into the rice to lock in that delicious taste. Once the wine is absorbed, you will slowly add in 3/4 cup stock at a time. Keep stirring and wait until the liquid is fully absorbed before moving on to the next addition. This dish took me 1 cup wine, and 5 cups vegetable stock to get it right. You always have the option to add in more broth if you feel the risotto is a bit dry. It truly varies on the type of arborio rice you have! I would not say that risotto is a difficult dish, nor is it time consuming, but it just requires constant attention. The end result is so worth it.
To keep things simple, I threw in the asparagus to roast in the oven while the risotto was cooking. Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure incorporating it in the process of making risotto was ever going to work. I also didn’t want to mess with my tried and true technique for risotto! If you are a fan of Top Chef, you might know it’s a common occurrence for someone to be sent home after attempting something different with risotto. Keeping it simple guys!!
Basil and Asparagus Risotto
- 12 oz asparagus stalks edges trimmed, and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1.5 cups arborio rice*
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese optional
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place asparagus on a large baking sheet. Brush asparagus with 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast asparagus in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Set aside.
Meanwhile, make the risotto. Heat a large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. Add remaining olive oil and garlic. Cook for approximately 2 minutes, and add the rice. Stir well with garlic.
Add the wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until the wine absorbed, 2-3 minutes,
Add 3/4 cup stock, reduce heat to medium, and cook stirring frequently until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the remaining stock, 3/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing the liquid to fully absorb before adding more.
The risotto will become tender and creamy, total cooking time around 30 minutes. If it appears a little dry, add 1/4 cup broth or water to loosen.
Slowly stir in asparagus, divide between bowls or plates. Garnish with freshly chopped basil, and parmesan cheese if using.
Arborio rice can be found in most grocery stores near the rice or pasta section.