There are a number of recipes for risotto but, the basic preparation steps are pretty similar. This summer recipe combines mushrooms, asparagus, saffron and parmigiano reggiano cheese and is then topped with freshly sliced grape tomatoes and scallions. Serve it as an entree or an appetizer. You can also top it with grilled and sliced chicken, pork or beef for a heartier meal.
6 cu Chicken Stock (substitute vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
pinch of Saffron Threads
1/4 cu Hot Water
1/2 lb Asparagus, ends trimmed and then cut into 1" pieces, keeping tips and stalk pieces separate
1/2 lb Baby Bella Mushrooms (or your choice), sliced
4 tbl Butter
1 tbl Olive Oil
1 1/2 cu Arborio Rice
1/2 cu White Wine
1/2 cu Shallots, minced
1/2 tsp Salt, optional
1/2 tsp Pepper, optional
1/2 cu Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, finely grated
1/2 cu Grape Tomatoes halved
2 Scallions, trimmed and sliced with just a bit of the green included
Additional grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, for garnish
Bring chicken stock to a boil in a large pot and then reduce to a very low simmer to keep warm. Break up saffron between your thumb and forefinger and sprinkle into the 1/4 cup of hot water. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes. Add asparagus stalk pieces and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add asparagus tips and sauté 2 minutes more and then remove saucepan from heat and set aside.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add shallots and sauté for about 2 minutes. Adjust heat so that shallots don't burn. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes. Add white wine and stir until fully combined. Add 1 cup of the warm chicken broth and saffron water and stir until liquid has just about fully absorbed. Continue stirring and be sure to keep rice from sticking to bottom of the pot. Continuing adding broth in 1 cup amounts until rice is tender but still slightly firm. Once you start adding broth, this cooking process will take about 20-25 minutes. Use a clean spoon to sample a bit of the rice occasionally to check for doneness. You also may not use all of the broth before the rice is ready.
Once rice has reached desired texture, season with salt and pepper if desired. Add the cheese and then the sautéed vegetables. Add the tomatoes and then immediately dish up risotto into individual serving bowls or plates. Garnish with additional grated cheese and scallions.