My first experience with risotto took place years ago, when I encountered a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall that specialized in his creamy, luscious grain. One delicious bite and I was sold; risotto, whether made with Arborio, Camaroli or other short-grain rice varieties, is what I consider the perfect marriage of two of my favorite things – carbs and butter. Wheeee!
When I received a batch of fava beans from my CSA, I wanted to re-create one risotto variety that I had tried so many years ago: fava bean and asparagus risotto. I found this recipe online, which was in turn adapted from Mario Batali’s risotto recipe. I’ve featured a recipe for wild mushroom risotto on this blog before, and I won’t lie – risotto is a hands-on endeavor, and you WILL be standing by the stove stirring, stirring, stirring. However, the results are well worth it, and apart from the constant stirring and monitoring, it is quite an easy but impressive dish!
You will need:
- 1 pound asparagus, peeled, trimmed and cut into one-inch-long pieces; set aside tips
- 1 cup of shelled favas (see my tutorial on preparing and shelling favas here)
- 4 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I ended up using 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 medium red onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Salt to taste
- 1 scallion, green parts chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Bring medium pot of water to a boil. Add half the chopped asparagus stalks (not the tips) and cook until soft, at least 5 minutes. Rinse quickly under cold water.
3. Put stock in a medium saucepan over low heat.
4. In a large, deep nonstick skillet, put oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. When it is hot, add onion, stirring occasionally until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add white wine, stir, and let liquid bubble away. Add a large pinch of salt. Add warmed stock, 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring occasionally. Each time stock has just about evaporated, add more.
6. After about 15 minutes, add remaining asparagus pieces and tips, continuing to add stock when necessary. In 5 minutes, add shelled fava beans, and begin tasting rice. You want it to be tender but with a bit of crunch; it could take as long as 30 minutes total to reach this stage.
7. Once it reaches that tender but crunchy phase, stir in 1/2 cup asparagus puree and chopped scallions.
8. Remove skillet from heat, add remaining butter and stir briskly.
9. Add Parmesan and stir briskly, then taste and adjust seasoning. Risotto should be slightly soupy. Garnish with parsley and additional Parmesan if desired, and serve immediately.
The extra effort by the stove top is definitely worth it – you are rewarded with rich, buttery risotto whose contents just sing of summer. If you end up trying this recipe out, let me know how it goes!
What are your favorite risotto add-ins?