The secret, if there is any, is to separately boil the tips for one minute and save them in iced water until everything is done. Then, carefully incorporate these tender, not overcooked asparagus tips with the rice.
The other secret is to cook the stems, taking the wooden part away, to make a broth with onion, garlic and a bouquet garni. Then, take away the herbs and puree the onion and asparagus stems with the liquid and use it in place of the stock or broth. By doing this, all the flavor and color goes into the risotto.
To give the risotto a richer consistency, I added some heavy cream and before serving, some parmigiano reggiano.
2 pounds of fresh asparagus, the heads cut and apart from the rest of the spear
1 small onion cut in half
1 bouquet garni made of fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano and sage
1 quart of water
3 Tbs. of butter
1 medium white or yellow onion coarsely chopped
1 cup of rice (Italians use Arborio, but I used plain white rice)
1-2 cups of white wine
¼ cup of heavy cream
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
Shredded Parmesan cheese (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)
In a pot, put the water to boil and cook the asparagus tips for one minute. Take the tips out of the water and put them in cold water with ice. Set aside. In the same boiling water, cook on medium heat the rest of the spears, with the halved onion and the bouquet garni, until tender, 7-10 minutes. Discard the herbs and puree the asparagus onion and liquid with an immersion blender or in the vase of a blender. In a large saucepan on medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the chopped onion until they are soft and transparent, 4-5 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the wine and the liquid asparagus mix, alternating one cup at a time, stirring constantly, until the liquids are absorbed. This process can take around 30 minutesm, being careful the rice doesn’t overcook or gets dry. Add the cream and salt a pepper to taste. Add the asparagus tips and stir gently. Serve immediately with some parmigiano.
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