I love when asparagus is in season. Because that means spring and sunshine (occasionally) and sweatshirts and my last chance to make hearty winter dishes before full-on summer hits and all I can think about eating are cold salads and frozen fruits and grilled meats.
So as one (of many, I’m sure) last hurrahs, here’s a hearty and delicious risotto that celebrates asparagus…and my affinity for all things goat cheese.
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Risotto (serves 6 as a side)
- 1 T butter (I use unsalted but either would work)
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 C arborio rice
- 5-6 C chicken broth (I used 4 C broth and 2 C water to manage the salt a little)
- 2-3 oz goat cheese
- 1 bunch asparagus
Start off by roasting the asparagus. Snap off the bottom of each stalk where it naturally wants to separate (just bend it until the tough part pops off) and place them on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and roast on the middle rack of a 350 degree oven until tender, about 15 minutes. Once they are done, set aside to cool until handleable, then chop into 1″ pieces.
To get ready for the risotto, bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan and reduce heat to medium to simmer. You’ll spoon the hot broth 1/2 C at a time into the rice to make the risotto–and it really does have to be hot!
In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions and garlic until they soften. Add the rice and stir, letting it toast for 30 seconds or so.
Start adding the broth 1/2 C at a time–once the first ladle full is absorbed by the rice, give it a stir and add another. You don’t want to stir the rice nonstop, but you do have to do it every few minutes to make sure the rice cooks evenly. The first few spoonfuls of broth will get absorbed quickly, then it will start to slow down–and it’s better to add less, since you can always add more but you can’t take it away!
The rice is done cooking when it looks thick and creamy but is still a little al dente in the middle–it shouldn’t be mushy. Take the rice off the heat and let it rest for a minute or two, then stir in the goat cheese and the asparagus.
If it feels too “dry” at this point, you can add another spoonful of broth and mix it right in.
The goat cheese definitely took this to the next level. I would have added white wine, too (substituted for a bit of the broth), but all of our current stash is too sweet! Someone has been drinking all the dry whites around here…
(…and that someone may or may not be me).
If you don’t like asparagus, you could substitute (or add) any vegetable that you do like–peas or mushrooms would both be great in this recipe.
And if for some crazy weird reason you don’t like goat cheese, you can use Parmesan instead. But if you don’t like goat cheese, you are also missing out on some of life’s finest tangy dairy and you may want to seek professional help.
This is definitely a nice hearty side dish, so you may want to serve it with a salad or something light instead of another (God forbid) starch.
I’m off to go take care of a rapidly evolving migraine (meaning–I’m gonna go to bed and hope it goes away!), but I hope you guys are all planning some amazing Mothers’ Day brunches and desserts and cocktail hours that I get to hear about after the weekend!