Sun Dried Tomato & Asparagus Risotto

Risotto, the pearl of both Piemonte and Veneto regions, is a tabla rasa...a blank slate that is wide open to seasonal and geographical adaptations. This recipe is one such creative version. In fact, as asparagus has different seasons, but is famous as a springtime treasure, I've always loved adding other springtime jewels like english peas and fava beans. The addition, in late spring and summer, of red bell peppers for a splash of color is also special.

The secret to risotto, to me, is to keep the rice wet enough, with enough stock or broth, especially so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, and then adding a touch after turning off the flame then adding the butter and parmesan. I've always said that the ideal is this, a thick, glossy, starchy liquid oozing out onto the plate. 

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine 
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, drained and diced
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with Aluminum Foil.  Set aside.
  2. Wash and prepare the Asparagus. 
  3. Spread the Asparagus on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper, and then gently hand toss the Asparagus spears to ensure everything is coated evenly.
  4. Bake in the oven for just 10 minutes. You want them to be al dente.
  5. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant - about one minute.
  6. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat for one to two minutes.
  7. Add the white wine, and reduce heat to medium.  Gently stir the rice until wine is almost completely absorbed.
  8. Add in 1.5 cups of chicken stock, and gently stir until it is almost all liquid is absorbed.  
  9. Repeat this step three to four more times. Ensuring that all of the liquid is absorbed each time. 
  10. After all of the chicken stock is used, remove the risotto from heat and add the sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus, and the shaved Parmesan and stir to combine.
  11. Salt and pepper to taste.
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