Monday, June 3, 2013

Date Night Dinner: Asparagus Risotto

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Everytime I think about risotto, I think about a mom trying to make it with 3 kids running around and dogs barking; I don't know just speaks to the difficulty of making this dish.  Oh, it's not hard.  But, this dinner requires an almost zen-like focus and the ability to block out just about everything else around you.  Which is why, it's not only the perfect date night dinner but it's also hardly ever made in our house.

We might not have screaming kids or barking dogs.  In our house it means is that I can't give this type of dinner to John to prep.  Because when I do that (with things like risotto or caramelizing onions), I get to hear about how LONG it took him to get dinner done.  As if I don't do anything around this joint...this week, for instance, I worked pretty much nonstop which left John to make dinners each night so that by the time I got home around 7.30 or 8 p.m. like a wild-eyed, crazed, lunatic from hunger, dinner would be there to calm me down.

Finally, with work matters finally put to rest late Saturday night, I was able to relax (and sleep, but that's another story).  So, Sunday I set to work making risotto.  There's something about getting into the groove in the kitchen, stirring, stirring, stirring.  Making something delicious with seasonal ingredients, and feeding the people you love that is calming and satisfying.  Calming enough, at the very least, that I went back to work today feeling like my normal self.  Slow and steady cooking does that for me - working on his car does that for John.  I hope you have something, too.  We all need that bit of relief.
Asparagus Risotto (adapted from Skinnytaste)
Serves:  2 (2 1/2 cups)
1 bunch asparagus (about 18 stalks)
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups homemade chicken stock (or low-sodium chicken broth)
1/3 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons parsley
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Clean the asparagus and trim the rough ends.  Chop the asparagus into 2-inch pieces and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Roast the asparagus about 8-12 minutes, until lightly golden brown.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium to keep the stock simmering.

In a second saucepan,  drizzle the remaining olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until slightly translucent (about 5 minutes).  Add garlic for 1 minute, until fragrant.  Stir in rice and mix well, making sure rice is evenly coated and also translucent (about 2-3 minutes).  Stir in the wine and stir until absorbed.  Then, add a full ladle of broth (about 1/2 cup).  Continue to stir until this is absorbed and repeat for about 25-30 minutes.  The rice should have a bite in the center and look very creamy.  Remove from heat and stir in the asparagus, lemon juice, parsley, parmesan, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.  Serve immediately.
Until the next time my oven is on...


  1. Cooking does that for me too but only if the house is empty! There's nothing worse than a crowded kitchen to ruin the mood. Delectable risotto! I can almost taste it's creaminess from here!


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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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