Jump Start Spring with Asparagus Risotto

Looking to channel your inner chef? Are you bored with your go-to recipes? We’re here to help and provide inspiration for new meals you can make at home with the launch of the newest Vinous feature: Vinous in the Kitchen. Led by Eric Guido, Vinous’ resident Italian wine critic and also a professionally trained chef, Vinous in the Kitchen is a series of delicious recipes you can easily prepare at home. Through his video tutorial and accompanying article, Eric will guide you through each recipe step-by-step, offering useful tips and techniques, as well as ideas on wine pairings. Find the bottles on Delectable, and make sure to share your own favorite pairings. A tasty spring risotto with asparagus is on the menu today. Buon appetito! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ There I was, a young culinary school student with a background in central and southern Italian cooking, but very little knowledge of the north, when I came to realize that our lesson that day was making Risotto. I suddenly felt tense, as a wave of anxiety washed over me, remembering when our Chef-instructor had explained at the beginning of our semester that the two preparations that define an expert chef are the perfect French omelet and Risotto. What’s more, it seemed alien to me, having grown up with my grandmother making fresh pastas and sauces based on olive oil, tomatoes, and herbs from our backyard. Flash in the pan preparations were my forte, using a minimal amount of ingredients. The idea of spending a ½ hour standing over a pot—no way. That is of course until I made my first Risotto, or should I say, when I tasted my first Risotto. Talk about a paradigm shift, as with each delectable bite of silky, rich, and remarkably flavorful Risotto disappearing from my plate, suddenly all of the time and patience made perfect sense. I decided that I would master this preparation. I would study it in all of its forms. When the time came that I landed my first job at a restaurant, Risotto was my signature dish. That was fifteen years ago, and today, I’m going to share all that I learned. The fact is that Risotto is really quite easy; it’s simply about patience and prep. With my video masterclass, you’ll be whipping up Risotto Bianco in no time, not to mention taking it to the next level, as I show you how to take a simple risotto and easily turn it into something special. What’s more, this article is jam-packed with helpful tips and tricks. Join me in making your first Asparagus Risotto, and pairing it with the perfect wine. WATCH THE FULL VIDEO TUTORIAL HERE INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED: 5 cups chicken stock 6 tbls. sweet butter (cubed) 1 shallot (fine dice) 1 ½ cups risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli rice) ½ cup white wine (Try using the same white you plan to pair with the risotto.) 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano ½ cup raw almond slivers 1 bunch asparagus (Trim the hard ends off the bottom of each spear. Cut to bite size pieces and reserve the tips for garnish.) Salt and pepper (to taste) WINE PAIRINGS: Pinot Grigio featured: 2017 Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio Fiano featured: 2018 Luigi Maffini Kratos Gamay featured: Beaujolais Mencia featured: 2017 Descendientes de José Palacios Bierzo Pétalos THE PREPARATION: 1. Prepare all of your ingredients before you start. 2. Place the stock in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. 3. In a sauté pan, place one tablespoon of butter and melt over a medium flame. Once melted and heated through, add the raw almond slivers and season well with salt. Toast the almonds until they begin to take on a toasted color and give off a rich fragrance. Move the almonds off the heat and set aside on a towel to drain. 4. In a saucepan, melt two tablespoons of butter, over a low-medium flame, and then add the shallots. Season the shallots lightly with salt. Sweat until translucent, for about three minutes, but do not allow them to take on any color. When the shallots are almost ready, add another tablespoon of butter. Once the butter has melted, add the rice and bring the flame up to medium. Toss the rice in the butter and shallot mixture while stirring regularly. Do not allow the rice to take on any color or stick to the pan. This should take only one or two minutes. 5. Add the wine and stir. The wine will begin to cook off and, once the rice begins to look dry, add your first ladle full of stock and stir. I like to set a timer for 16 minutes at this point, as a guide, but not as the set time for completion. 6. Continue to stir, keeping the rice moving around the pan. Regularly stir the rice from the outside of the pan into the center. As the rice begins to look dry again, add more stock and continue to stir. You will continue this process until your timer reads two minutes. 7. In a separate pan, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add your asparagus spears (reserve the tips) and sauté for one minute before adding a ladle of stock. Allow this to shallow poach for 1-2 minutes. Once done, place into a bowl on the side and repeat this step with the asparagus tips. 8. When there is about two minutes left on your timer, you should begin to taste for seasoning and doneness. Season lightly with salt, but remember that the Parmigiano Reggiano is salty as well, so season very lightly. Once your rice is al dente, soft with a slight snap to the bite, turn off the heat. You may have a little stock left; hold it for now. Now add your asparagus spears, the last tablespoon of butter, and the ½ cup of Parmigiano Reggiano, and stir into the rice until combined. If the rice is too dry, add a little bit more hot stock and stir. Place a lid onto the top of the pan and allow it to rest for two minutes. 9. Taste the risotto, one last time for seasoning. Plate into warmed bowls. Garnish with the asparagus tips and toasted almonds. Clean the rim of your plate and serve. --Eric Guido, Jump Start Spring with Asparagus Risotto , April 2020

Descendientes de José Palacios

Pétalos Bierzo Mencía 2017

Just love this wine! Nice blend of grapes from the Bierzo Valley, the ‘17 has about 10% of perfectly ripe white grapes, more than any other year. Deep Ruby with lighter edges with tons of Berry fruits aromas adding some sweet floral spice. On the palate flavors of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry with a juicy mineral edge. Well balanced and integrated with fine tannins, lively acidity and a long dry finish ending with toasty pepper notes. Tremendous value. — 3 years ago

Alex, Paul and 9 others liked this

Tenuta di Nozzole

Riserva Nozzole Chianti Classico Sangiovese 2016

Some mild tobacco leaf, followed by that cherry. Tannic on the finish w/ out food. With the sausage and pea risotto, fabulous. — 3 years ago

Tom, Severn and 1 other liked this

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

Artemis Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

One of Kim's favorites. Celebrating her birthday with this alongside my Perfect Prime Rib, Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce, Fingerling Potatoes and a Barrata Salad! Pairs wonderfully! — 3 years ago

Kim loizzi
with Kim
Kim liked this

Foundi Estate

Naoussa Xinomavro 2017

Great example of this noble black grape of Northern Greece, Xinomavro!
On the nose, Mediterranean herbs, tar & roses...on the palate- classic characters of black olives, sun dried tomatoes, dried plums, sour cherries...hint of mushroom, truffles with great acidity and tannin. Needs food like lamb, something Gamey or truffle risotto. Comes from .5 of a hectare in the region of Naoussa. Loved it!
— 3 years ago

Domaine des Liards (Berger Freres)

Vieilles Vignes Montlouis Chardonnay 2000

Vintage 2000 / Chenin Blanc / the appreciation of wine also depends on the combination with food. Our favorite dish with asparagus is from Italy, with strawberries, tomatoes, Parmesan and Gruyere cheese and cream. It suits this 20 y old wine perfect. Turkish delight in smell, hay and honey. In taste just a hint of sweetness, demonstrating perfect and awesome balance with the asparagus. I think my last bottle, terrific treat. — 3 years ago

Matt, Daniel and 23 others liked this
Matt Perlman

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Sounds beautiful. asparagus not an easy pairing!

Dirty & Rowdy

Old Vine California Mourvedre 2018

Grapes for this wine are from Fred and Dora’s 100 year old vineyard in Mendocino. Color is nearly black, nose is tight, closed only yielding on day 2. Schizoid wine...huge, young, tannic, acidic, alive—but ABV 12.5! Fine on day 1... amazing on day 2 with Medium filets, mushroom risotto, and brocolini. I laugh as I type this.. the mouthfeel is medium at most... not viscous or oily... but vibrant, alive, dancing across the palate. I really like this wine..so utterly California, but not new world at all. — 3 years ago

"Odedi", Bryan and 6 others liked this

Seghesio Family Vineyards

Defiant Sonoma County Red Blend 2015

Tasted at a wine tasting in Scottsdale. Displays aromas of blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, black cherry, black plums, and black currants, along with hints of toasted vanilla, white pepper, lavender and sage. It has a rich smooth texture, a soft, low-acid low-tannin structure and a full layered and easy drinking finish. Paired with bruschetta chicken and roasted asparagus. Paid $24.95. — 3 years ago

Cave Laetitia Ducroux

Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Nice smooth white, not too complex. Enjoyed with a risotto for Easter. — 3 years ago

Marcel Lapierre

Morgon Gamay 2018

Bright, ripe cherry juice, hay, earth. A beautiful, inviting nose. The palate is well balanced with a strong acid drive, a good width with a bright cherry all along, a soft touch, a delicate tannins kick before a very long finish with cherry and hay. This is again very good. — 3 years ago

Robert, P and 32 others liked this
David T

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Straight up one the best producer of Grand Cru Gamay.


Ghemme Nebbiolo Blend 2013

Years ago tried, and this time drank under very different conditions- celebrating & honoring news that some Italian friends in the North (& south) are still safe & sound. Fine, grainy tannins, solidly medium weight, lovely rose hips and red fruits on nose & more red fruits & mushroom risotto in mouth. For about 25$ it’s absolutely stellar & a deal. Mountain Nebbiolo is my wheelhouse. And my family took selfies & sent to our Italian fiends. — 3 years ago

Severn, Ira and 11 others liked this
Severn Goodwin

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Gimme some Ghemme!