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 450°F. 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.
Serve with chicken milanese.