Fresh spring risotto features beautiful flavors

springrisotto052814Every once in a while, I just want risotto. My favorite thing to do with this creamy rice dish is to add shredded cheese and a bit of white truffle oil. Though it takes a bit of time to make, it’s easy and delicious. I always make more than I need so I have leftovers.

The inspiration for this particular flavor combination came from dinner at a Seattle restaurant. They were able to make their risotto light by using fresh citrus and asparagus. It was a nice change from my usual flavor combination. At home, I decided to add basil to my version, and it was the best addition I could have made. That fresh basil flavor really complemented the rest of the dish. If you do garnish with truffle oil, do so sparingly because the flavor is really strong. A few drops will do.

Ingredients
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups chicken broth
8 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound of frozen peas, cooked
Two small lemons
1/2 teaspoon salt
White truffle oil (optional)
Fresh basil leaves

Sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat until onion becomes translucent.

Add rice and stir for about two minutes.

Stir in 1 cup of broth. Cook and stir until broth is absorbed. Stir in the rest of the broth, one cup at a time, until each cup is absorbed.

Stir in peas, asparagus, lemon juice, and salt.

Garnish each serving with a few drops of truffle oil and a few leaves of fresh basil.

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Asparagus soup that will warm you up

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I’ve never done much with asparagus other than cook it on a stovetop or bake it. Since the weather has been freezing, I’ve been coming home to make dinners that will warm me up.

This cream of asparagus soup from Joy is a great way to use the vegetable. It takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, and has a nice consistency — it has cream, but doesn’t become too thick. I didn’t have chicken broth, so I used bullion and water. It was saltier than I wanted it to be, so next time I’ll use less than 1 tablespoon of bullion per cup of water.

I garnished the first bowl with shredded Parmesan, but that wasn’t quite right. The bread cubes were a much better choice.

All in all, this was a nice soup that I will be making again because it don’t involve a lot of ingredients, nor does it take too long to make.

Ingredients
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups poultry stock, chicken broth or other light stock or broth
1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream, half-and-half or milk
Salt
White or black pepper

Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat.

Add onions and cook, stirring, until tender but not browned.

Stir in asparagus. Cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the asparagus is very tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a food processor or an immersion blender, process until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and stir in heavy cream. Heat through, but do not boil.

Add salt and pepper. Garnish with grated cheese such as cheddar or Parmesan, or add 1-inch cubes of bread.