The Hendersons       Our Food and Cooking


Side Dishes


Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Tom had this at The Fork in Coeur d'Alene, ID and raved about it. We found the recipe in one our cookbooks.


Yield: Four servings

1/2 pound asparagus
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 ounces mushrooms
3 1/2 cups homemade or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
One quarter medium onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup Italian medium grain rice, such as or Carnaroli or Arborio
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh lemon thyme
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper

Asparagus. Preheat the oven to 450F. Snap off the bottoms of the asparagus spears and rinse them. Pat them dry and then spread them on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toss the spears to coat evenly and then spread them out in a single layer. Roast the spears until they just begin to sag when you hold them by the bottom, 4 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness. They should be slightly underdone, for they will continue to cook once removed them from the oven. Cool slightly, cut them into 1 inch pieces, and set aside.

Mushrooms and broth. Rinse the mushrooms and then cut them into bite-size pieces. Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a small (2 quart) saucepan and hold it over very low heat.

Starting the risotto. Melt the butter in a large (4 quart) saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, about five minutes. Add the mushrooms, season lightly with salt, and continue to cook until they release their moisture and the liquid boils away, about eight minutes. Add the rice, reduce the heat to medium low, and stir for one minute.

Adding the liquid. Add the wine and 3/4 teaspoon salt . Stir the rice continuously with a large wooden spoon until all the liquid is absorbed. Ladle in one cup of the broth. At this point you will need to stir the rice very often, but you don't have to stir it continuously. You never want the rice to get so dry that it sticks to the bottom of the pan. Keep the heat at medium low so that the rice is at a steady but very gentle bubble when you stop stirring. When the rice absorbs the first cup of broth, add another. Continue stirring and adding broth in this way, always waiting until the rice absorbs the liquid before adding more. The risotto will take 25 to 30 minutes to cook from the first addition of broth. When done, the mixture will be creamy and the rice will be puffed and somewhat tender but still have a little bit of a bite in the interior when you chew it. It should not be mushy.

Finishing the risotto. When the rice is done, add the asparagus, lemon thyme, and cheese. Stir over heat for another minute or two to warm the asparagus. If necessary, add a little more broth to keep the risotto moist and creamy - it should form a spreading mound of spooned onto a plate. Season with black pepper and additional salt if necessary.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with chicken milanese.