Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Perfect Pair: Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus is still in season.  Celebrate with this asparagus risotto that will melt in your mouth.  Taste it for yourself!

The Dish:  Asparagus Risotto

The Recipe:
From Bastille Restaurant

-1 Tbsp unsalted butter
-1 Tbsp Olive oil
-1/2 cup chopped shallots
-1 cup Carnarolli or Arborio rice
-1/4 cup Dry white wine
-About 4 cups Vegetable stock or Asparagus blanching water for
-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
-Salt and pepper
-1/2 pound **asparagus, blanched

**Tough skins of the spears peeled (if working with thick asparagus) cut into 1-inch lengths on a bias.


1.  Bring lightly salted water to a boil and blanch asparagus until just tender, about 3-5 minutes.  Shock asparagus in an ice water bath to stabilize the color and measure out water for risotto and set asparagus aside until end of cooking.

2.  In a 3 or 4-quart saucepan, heat 1-Tbsp olive oil and 1-Tbsp butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook for a two minutes or until translucent.  Add the rice and cook for 3 minutes more, stirring until nicely coated.

4.  Add the wine.  Slowly stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine.  Once the wine is almost completely absorbed, add 1/2 cup of hot stock to the rice.  Continue to stir until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, adding more stock in 1/2-cup increments.  Stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 20-25 minutes.  With the last ladle of stock, add the asparagus.  Turn off the heat.

Note:  The stock amount given is approximate. You may need a little more or less. If you end up needing more stock and you find yourself without, just use water.

4.  Gently stir in the Parmesan cheese and the remaining 1-tablespoon butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 2-3 as a main course, or 4 as a side dish.

The Pairings:
Trinity Hill's 2013 Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with vegetable-based dishes including asparagus with its gentle aromas of citrus and lemongrass. The fresh acidity will cut through the creamy butter in the risotto making it the perfect wine to match the rich dish.

Villa Gemma Bianco Colline Teatine IGT boasts the freshness of summer while incorporating the intense and aromatic flavors of an oaky wine. Fruity and flowery with hints of apple, jasmine and white flower, this pleasant white is composed of 80% trebbiano with 15% cococcolia and 5% chardonnay. Pale, straw yellow in color with a fine aroma, Villa Gemma Bianco Colline Teatine IGT is fairly intense and pairs nicely with light, flavorful dishes like cheese and vegetables. 

Wente Vineyards Louis Mel Savignon Blanc:  Asparagus is known as a tricky pairing for wine, but this recipe's richness of Parmesan cheese appealingly tames and compliments the vegetable's green, grassy character.  The Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc with its tropical aromas and flavors rounds out the buttery, savory flavors in the risotto with a bit of crispness and a long, satisfying finish. ($15)

Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc:  This piquant Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc is an alternate pairing matching zesty citrus flavors, flower blossom and minerality to the fresh asparagus flavors themselves-- a slightly edgier pairing that cuts any excess richness in the dish with great charm.  ($22)
Tom Gore Vineyards Chardonnay 2014:  This Chardonnay has intense aromas of ripe apple and pear, complemented by notes of brown spice and toasted oak. The wine has ripe fruit flavors with a smooth, creamy texture and a long, full finish.

All of these wines are perfect for spring sipping.

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