When I was in college I had two “favorite” dining hall meals: potato pancakes and risotto. I don’t know what it was about Bartol’s (the dining hall) risotto but I couldn’t get enough. I think the key to what made it awesome (besides lots of oil, because let’s face it, everything in Bartol was doused in oil) was the creaminess. I’ve been playing around with risotto recipes for the past two years and I think this is the perfect risotto. It’s creamy, has vino flavor and features farmer’s market fresh asparagus. Plus, it’s relatively quick and easy to make!
For success you need:
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
¼ cup yellow onion, chopped
Small handful of pine nuts
¼ cup of white wine
1 cup of water
1/3 cup of arborio rice
1 bunch of asparagus with the tops and stems sliced and separated
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 spoonful of crème fraiche
Generous grating of parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper
To start, heat the EVO over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, and pine nuts with salt and pepper until softened, about 5 mins.
Maintain the medium heat and add the rice. Stir the rice until fully combined with the onion/garlic/pine nut mixture. Once integrated, pour in the white wine. I used a Sav Blanc in this dish, but any dry white wine will do.
Stir the mixture until the rice has absorbed the wine. Then add the water and raise the heat to medium high. You need to monitor and periodically stir the rice. Observe the rice. Once the water has reduced by half, add the asparagus.
Look how green! After yesterday, all I wanted was something green to nibble on. OK, back to business!
Continue to monitor and stir the rice until it is almost all absorbed. Leaving a little bit of water in the rice will enhance the creaminess later. Once the water is nearly absorbed take the rice off the heat and grate parmesan into the rice. You can add as little or as much as you like. I like to add a little, stir it in, and then add a little bit more ;). Overall I added a little bit less than ¼ cup.
Once the parmesan is stirred in, you add the magic ingredient and the secret to the creaminess…
Just a spoonful! If you add anymore it gets a weird white look but too little and you don’t get the desired creaminess.
Stir in the crème fraiche and serve with a light grating of parmesan on top.
I don’t want to toot my own horn but this is a pretty awesome risotto. It’s quick, easy and packed to the gills with asparagus. I think the key to the success of this dish though is the parmesan and crème fraiche combo. Unbeatable!
What was your go to dish in college? Besides potato pancakes and risotto I also loved stir fry with heavy sauces. Clearly, I was a picture of good health.