Asparagus Risotto with Parmesan and Pine Nuts

With much of my time and energy consumed by moving house (and the process of settling in again) over the past months, I did not get to post any new recipes here for a while. But I am not going to let this season go by without at least one recipe honoring this truly German vegetable: the white asparagus. Not that other countries do not have it, I am just not sure they get quite as crazed about it…

So, while my first asparagus dish of the year has to be a traditional dish of boiled white spears with new potatoes and a side of ham cold cuts (and, of course, the best asparagus sauce in history: Traditional German Asparagus Dish – with my Mother’s Asparagus Sauce), the combination may become a bit repetitive after a while.

So here is something for all of you searching for new ideas. In particular, this dish suggests pan-frying – rather than boiling – the asparagus. This certainly was a new concept to me until rather recently but I discovered that this cooking methods works excellently for white asparagus (as it does for green asparagus). Actually, the asparagus becomes super-delicious – extremely aromatic, al dente and not at all soggy!

Sanni

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Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 of a Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 150 grams of risotto rice
  • 100 ml of white wine
  • ca. 500 ml of vegetable broth (heated up)
  • ca. 250 grams of white asparagus
  • ca. 250 grams of green asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • freshly ground pepper, salt
  • ca. 100 grams of parmesan, grated
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley
  • For decoration: a few parmesan shavings

Preparation:

  1. Start by roasting the pine nuts in a non-stick pan without oil for approximately 5 minutes (medium heat). Toss every now and then. Then set aside, together with the grated parmesan, chopped parsley and the parmesan shavings.
  2. Let one tablespoon of the butter melt in a large risotto pan on medium heat. Fry the onion and the risotto rice together until the onion softens. The onion should not brown, turn down the temperature if necessary.
  3. Deglaze with the white wine and add just as must broth so that the rice is covered. Let simmer on low heat (without cover) until the broth is completely soaked up. Stir every now and then.
  4. Once the broth is soaked up, add more broth – again just enough to cover the rice and repeat steps 3 and 4 until the rice is al dente and has a creamy consistency.
  5. Start preparing the asparagus once you have added the broth to the rice for the first time: Peel the white asparagus from just below the head and the bottom third of the green asparagus. Cut into approximately 1 to 2 cm long pieces (or into any other shape that you fancy – the frying time may need to be reduced if you cut the asparagus into smaller pieces).
  6. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a wok or other non-stick frying pan (medium heat). Toss in the asparagus and sprinkle with the sugar. Fry for approximately 8 to 10 minutes until properly cooked but still al dente. Toss frequently. At the end of the cooking time, season with freshly ground pepper and salt.
  7. When the rice is done, stir in the grated parmesan, the pine nuts and the chopped parsley, and then, finally, the asparagus (mix gently).
  8. Serve on pre-warmed plates and enjoy!! ❤

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