asparagus risotto with white truffle butter

4 generous servings    |   
Prep Time:
10 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
30 minutes

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asparagus risotto shortcut white truffle butter

Spring…maybe? I don’t want to hex things, but birds were singing when I got up and the sun was out all day. (Not that I mind winter; California always needs rain and snow.) When I think about spring and its symbols and celebrations, I think of asparagus. It’s green and it’s grassy, two springy things. It’s in markets everywhere and it’s getting cheaper — I saw a bunch for $2.99 this weekend. And if you’ve ever seen an asparagus patch with the spears poking up from the soil one by one, you can’t help but think they are marching towards your plate. As in this month, March.

Okay, that’s going too far. I know you know that asparagus is a spring food, and that spring is 10 days away. And I’m sure you have plenty of ideas about what to do with asparagus and you may make asparagus risotto all the time. But I had some leftover truffle butter in my freezer* and I thought, why not throw it into my risotto pot? It was a whole new level of divine. I used my shortcut method, too, which means less stirring. I don’t want to hex things, but this may be my best spring dish yet.

Try it soon. Maybe even for St. Patrick’s Day. Because I can guarantee you it will be more popular than corned beef and cabbage.

*it was leftover from making Ina Garten’s pasta with white truffle butter for the Oscars. This is the truffle butter I recommend (my local store carries it); Ina recommends other brands in her recipe.

8 asparagus spears (not too skinny)
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth, low-sodium if purchased
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1 oz (1 tablespoon) white truffle butter (see above)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus additional for serving

Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and set aside. Slice the tips off the asparagus and set aside; slice the spears on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces. (Take note: you are going to use all three parts of the asparagus separately.)

In a small saucepan, bring the broth to a boil then reduce heat to low and add the snapped-off asparagus ends to the broth. Place broth on a back burner over low heat. Place a ladle or metal measuring cup with 1/2-cup capacity nearby.

In a 2- to 3-quart saucepan, melt the unsalted butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir until coated with butter, about 30 seconds. Ladle in 1/2 cup of the hot broth, stirring until it evaporates, then add another 1/2 cup broth. Repeat 2 more times, adding more liquid only when the previous amount has evaporated, until you have used 2 cups; total cooking time will be about 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the asparagus ends from the pan of broth and discard. Stir the remaining broth into the rice and add the sliced asparagus spears. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. While risotto is cooking, cut each reserved asparagus tip in half lengthwise.

After 10 minutes, stir the asparagus tips into the risotto and cover again; let cook for 2 to 3 more minutes until asparagus and rice are just tender and risotto is still a bit soupy. Stir in the truffle butter and the 1/2 cup parmesan. Scoop risotto into warmed bowls and serve with additional cheese alongside.