When I was making the penne last week, I was seduced by asparagus at the store, and also bought fresh tomatoes - forgetting that I needed canned ones! In order to deal with this problem, I decided to retry my chard risotto recipe but this time with asparagus - and spiced up a little because i had a cold and needed to clear my sinuses. The tomatoes had to go too, and I didn't want them to muddy up the risotto, so I raided the fridge for random things with which to make a salad. Sarah emily took the pictures, and wanted to make the point that gina marie was stirring and sarah emily was helping by drinking beer.
First, the risotto:I chopped a white onion and the rest of the garlic in the house (equivalent of 3-4 cloves - they were little baby garlic pieces! I popped them in my soup pot with the bottom coated in olive oil with 4 shakes of my new favorite spice (from the pea soup recipe!) smoked paprika, and 4 shakes of cayenne. I stirred and put it on low heat.
Then I got started with the asparagus. I had almost a whole bunch of it. I cut off the the woody stems (more cut off on the thick ones, the thin ones you can just trim), and then cut what was left of the asparagus into about 6 pieces (each about a half an inch? I'm bad with measuring.)
I popped them into a saute pan covered with some olive oil and put it on low heat, stirring occasionally until the asparagus was a very bright green. Then I shut off the heat and let them sit in the pan.
When the onion-garlic-spices mixture had cooked for about 5 minutes and seemed soft, I added half a cup of risotto rice and stirred. Then I added 4 cups of vegetable stock (apparently the boxes come in 4 cup portions, so I used an unnecessary measuring cup - but how was I to know!) and turned the heat on medium high.
As the risotto cooked down, gina marie did a good job of stirring constantly, which meant we could keep the heat pretty high and the risotto wouldn't burn. when I tasted the rice and it was soft and done, I stirred in all the asparagus, just long enough to get it hot - less than a minute - and then turned off the heat on the risotto. The risotto was served with lots of parmesan cheese and with...
gina marie chopped about 3 not-so-awesome supermarket vine ripened tomatoes. I stripped a small handful of cilantro and about 6 leaves of basil and chopped them up.
Then I peeled and chopped a carrot I found in the fridge, and combined the chopped herbs, carrots, and tomatoes. Finally, I made some dressing by whisking about 2 parts olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar with a generous pinch of salt and about a half a teaspoon of cracked pepper. I dressed the salad just before serving.
We seem to have forgotten to take any pictures of the tomato salad. we ate it too fast.
Here's the risotto.
Sometimes sarah emily pretends to pour honey on it:
Sometimes it is in its bowl: