May 27, 2013

White asparagus cream risotto

White asparagus, rice and mascarpone. I mean, a lot of asparagus, less rice, even less mascarpone and full of subtle taste that only happens once a year. 

To keep my appetite healthy, I find it absolutely necessary to cook with seasonal food. More often than not, I buy something that looks good, without a plan, and then allow myself to get inspired. Less pressure, more fun, better lunch.

I come home from the market (twice a week) full of goodies and then day after day, I like to see my supplies diminishing to just a couple of lemons in the fridge. Or a bundle of asparagus. I figured, it could go last, before another market day. It worked. I surprised everybody, mostly me, with a wonderful risotto.

Even though the risotto is creamy in texture and creamy in taste, it's not baby food. The taste is refined, it calls for bubbles from a good champagne or prosecco. The look is chic, like linen pants with a white shirt. Understated elegance. In a white, small bowl. 

Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano

time: 30 min


  • 500 g (1 lbs) white asparagus
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 60 g (4 Tablespoons) butter
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 320 g (1 1/2 cups) rice for risotto (arborio)
  • 1 l (4 cups) water from cooking asparagus
  • 125 g (1/4 lbs) mascarpone
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan

  1. Chop the hard ends of asparagus and peel the hard skin from the rest of the shoot. The skin is thick, so peel thick.
  2. Cook asparagus in 1 liter of salted water (1 Tablespoon of salt), for about 10 minutes. Save the cooking water. Take it out, drain. Save the flowers (for the end) and dice the rest. On a medium skillet, heat 2 Tbs oil with 20 g (1.5 Tbs) butter. Add asparagus pieces and cook for 10 minutes, adding a couple of spoons of liquid (from cooking asparagus earlier) half way through the process. At the end, take if of the heat and mix in mascarpone.
  3. In a food processor with a steal blade, blend the asparagus/mascarpone mix till smooth.
  4. In a medium pot, heat 2 Tbs oil with 40 g (2.5 Tbs) butter on medium. Cook onions for 10 minutes (don't allow color to change). Add rice, toast it for a minute. Add a cup of hot water (from cooking asparagus). Keep adding liquid (about 1/2 cup at the time) and keep mixing rice till all liquid absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. 5 minutes before the end (after the last 1/2 cup), stir in asparagus cream.
  5. Take it of the heat. Add Parmesan and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. And serve right away.

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