Saturday, March 20, 2010

Risotto with Asparagus, Mushroom and Artichoke

Today's recipe is inspired by one of my most favorite Seinfeld moments:

[location: restaurant]
(Karin starts moaning and lights a cigarette after finishing dinner)
GEORGE: You seem like you really enjoyed your Risotto. You have a very contented air over there. You look very contented, very satisfied. Are you satisfied?
KARIN: I'm very satisfied.
GEORGE: I'm sure if you weren't satisfied you would probably say something wouldn't you?
KARIN: I probably would. But then again I'm an enigma.
GEORGE: Hey listen... instead of the movie... maybe we'll go back and... you know...
KARIN: Maybe.
GEORGE: So... you feel okay about that whole thing... what we do in there... generally okay with everything in there?
KARIN: Generally.
GEORGE: Do you feel the way you feel after the Risotto?
KARIN: No, I feel full after the Risotto.
GEORGE: Yeah... full.

So, is your Risotto sponge-worthy? Because this one absolutely is!

Just when I thought Spring was in the air, it snowed today in Chicago. Fret no more, this risotto is filled with spring-time flavors that will make you forget all about the snow. The dish begs for a lemony Sauvignon Blanc or a bright, acidic white from Loire Valley.

Risotto with Asparagus, Mushroom, and Artichoke (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Gourmet, May 2003)

1/2 lb thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch rounds, leaving tips 1.5 inches long
6 oz of shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 artichoke heart, quartered
1 shallot, finely chopped
2.5 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup arborio rice, rinsed
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup parmiggiano regiano, finely shredded
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For artichokes:
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
1 lemon, juiced
splash of white wine vinegar
2 tbsp dry white wine

Prepare artichoke heart
Bring water to a boil in 4 qt saucepan with 2 pours of white wine, splash of dry white wine vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic smashed, and 1 bay leaf. Cut top off artichoke, remove choke, and cut away leaves until heart is exposed. Remove stem. Cut artichoke heart into quarters. Immediately put in bowl with juice of one lemon. Thoroughly coat heart in lemon juice otherwise it will brown. Transfer artichoke hearts with lemon juice to boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside. Cut into 1/4 inch strips.

Prepare asparagus
Bring vegetable broth + water to a boil in large saucepan. Add asparagus, cook for 4 minutes. Remove asparagus with slotted spoon. Place in large bowl with ice and cold water to stop cooking. Drain and set aside. Keep vegetable broth on very low heat.

Prepare mushrooms
Heat olive oil and 1/2 tbsp butter in medium saucepan on high heat. Add mushrooms. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp butter on medium heat. Add shallots. Cook until softened. Add rice, stir. Add wine, stir until absorbed. Add 1 cup broth, stir until absorbed. Continue adding 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed, until rice is creamy. It will take about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese and 1/2 tbsp butter. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir in asparagus, mushroom, and artichoke. Cover and let sit for one minute.

Serve immediately. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Serves 2. Enjoy!

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