Today I want to share with you the recipe for a risotto I made a little while ago. I think it it the perfect spring dish. I know that many of my readers are in the northern hemisphere (and I still have trouble adjusting to the fact that May is autumn down here!), so I thought of posting this now. It is a very simple risotto made with fresh asparagus and “raspadüra”. Raspadüra is a way of serving Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano obtained by thinly shaving the cheese with a specific knife (or, at home, with a potato peeler). It is a traditional dish of Lombardia, the region of Milan and the original raspadüra is actually a very long piece of shaved cheese cut from a big wheel of Grana. Making it with a potato peeler (and with a smaller piece of cheese) means you get shorter pieces of raspadüra, but the taste is the same… and everyone can replicate it in their kitchen! It is often eaten as an antipasto, or it is used to decorate pasta and risotto, like in this case. Enjoy it!
Ingredients (for 4 persons):
320 gms – 11.3 oz. rice (Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone nano)
½ onion, finely chopped
10-12 asparagus (+ 4 for garnishing)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
50 ml – 1.7 oz. white wine
1 lt – 33.8 oz. salty water
4 tbsp Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
30 gms – 2 tbsp butter
6 tbsp raspadüra
Salt to taste
Clean the asparagus by breaking them with your hands. Use the bottom parts (which are too hard to eat) to make the stock you will need to cook risotto. Put these harder parts in the water with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. The stock has to be hot all the time while you are cooking risotto, so that the rice temperature does not drop when you add the stock to it.
Now put the edible parts of the asparagus in a pan and just cover them with a little water. Do not put too much water as you want to steam them rather than boil them. Cook them for 5 minutes, then drain them and run some cold water on them. This will help retain a vivid green colour. When cold, chop them and keep them aside. NOTE: keep 4 full ones aside to use as decoration.
To make raspadüra, simply use a potato peeler to thinly “peel” some Parmigiano Reggiano. Keep it aside.
Put the finely chopped onion and the 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a pot (1) and let it cook on a slow fire, until the onion becomes soft and transparent (2). Add the rice (3), mix well and let it cook for 1 or 2 minutes, until it becomes translucent (4). Now pour in the white wine and let the alcohol burn off by cooking on a high flame (5). Then add enough hot stock to cover the rice and turn the fire to medium-low (6). Keep cooking, occasionally stirring the rice and adding hot water little by little, until the rice is cooked. It is going to take approximately 18 to 20 minutes depending on the rice you are using. 5 minutes before the rice is ready (7), add the chopped asparagus and mix well (8). Then continue cooking normally. When the rice is ready, put the fire off and add the butter, grated Parmigiano Reggiano and half the raspadüra to it (9). Mix very well, until the rice becomes creamy. Make sure that your risotto is moist (or, as we say, all’onda – which literally means wavy) and not sticky. You can do that by adding 1 or 2 extra tbsp of hot stock if needed. Check for salt and season to your liking.
Serve immediately with some raspadüra on the top and decorate with the full asparagus.
TIP: Whenever you cook risotto, do not wash the rice before cooking. The starch is needed for the risotto to become creamy.