The best asparagus only needs a bit of butter or maybe Hollandaise sauce, but it also makes a fabulous risotto. Asparagus risotto is a perfect side dish for a prime rib roast or steaks and only needs little additional attention during preparation than a regular rice pilaf.
Since out-of-season asparagus is a little more pricey than locally grown spring-time asparagus, this risotto is a great way to make it go further.
1 lb. fresh asparagus
1 small onion diced
3 tbsp. butter plus 1 tbsp. for finishing
1 1/2 c. Arborio (risotto) rice
1/2 c. dry white wine
5 to 5 1/2 c. chicken broth, heated to simmering
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Peel the asparagus reserving the peelings and cut in 1 inch pieces. Set the pieces aside and add the peelings to the simmering chicken stock. Simmer for 5 minutes and strain. Discard the peelings.
Chop the onion. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion until soft, but not brown. Stir in the raw rice. Cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat the rice grains well. Add the wine and bring to boil, stirring constantly. When most of wine is absorbed, add first 1/2 cup of the chicken/asparagus broth.
Cook rice at gentle boil, stirring frequently. Continue to add broth in 1/2 cup portions as it is absorbed. Add the asparagus pieces after the first 10 minutes.
When ready, the risotto will have a creamy sauce and the rice should still be slightly firm to the bite. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in remaining tablespoon of butter and Parmesan cheese. Serve at once.