These days, when every prime steak or seafood house sells you expensive side dishes huge enough “to share” (as in, with Napoleon’s Grande Armee), it makes sense to have something wonderful to do with leftover asparagus. In the wake of a gargantuan dinner at the hip new Eddie V’s at West Ave, we cooked up something that wasn’t hip or new at all. This will make you happy you had those leftovers.
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups Arborio rice
2 cups cooked (1-inch) pieces asparagus
¾ cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
In an electric kettle or medium saucepan with a lid, combine chicken broth and white wine and heat just to simmering. Keep warm. In a large 3 to 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and “sweat” until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the grains are translucent around the edges. Be careful not to allow the grains or the onions to brown.
Reduce the heat to low. Add enough of the wine and chicken stock just to cover the top of the rice. Stir or move the pan often, until the liquid is completely absorbed into rice. Once absorbed, add another amount of liquid just to cover the rice and continue stirring or moving as before. There should be just enough liquid left to repeat 1 more time. It should take approximately 35 to 40 minutes for all of the liquid to be absorbed. After the last addition of liquid has been mostly absorbed, add the asparagus and stir until risotto is creamy and asparagus is heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serves 8-10.