For the first time in a long time, I had my darling friend come over to sit in the sunshine on the balcony. We enjoyed a little bubbly and make some creamy asparagus risotto as we soaked in the incredibly warm rays of May. After social distancing for such a long time, spending time together was purely cherished. We had our sunhats on, talked about life and ate creamy comforting risotto along the way.
Asparagus Mascarpone Risotto (serves 4-6)
Garnish: Mint leaves, asparagus buds, lemon pesto, white pepper
Begin by warming the broth in a medium saucepan over low heat. Meanwhile begin to sweat the shallot in melted butter. Add a pinch of salt and wait until they begin to soften. Add in the dry grains of rice so they also begin to toast. Make sure all the grains are coated with butter and if it looks too dry, add a little fat. Cook for a few minutes, make sure the rice does not brown.
Add a splash of white wine to the rice to help deglaze the pan. Let it simmer while stirring constantly until the wine has completely reduced and the pan is nearly dry. This should take around three minutes. Now it is time to add in the warm broth. Slowly add the broth in increments, stirring in between. Add about ½ cup a time, stirring regularly between additions. Before adding more liquid, make sure the previous one has been soaked into the rice. This process allows the starch to be released creating a creaming sauce. This process should take about 30minutes when the risotto is creamy but a little aldente. Fold in the mascarpone cheese.
Meanwhile the risotto is cooking, gently fry the asparagus in a pan with a bit of butter and the finely chopped mint leaves. Gently cook for a few minutes and add the asparagus into the risotto. Make sure to leave a few buds for garnishing.
Finally, add the cup of parmesan cheese and serve immediately. More starches will set the longer it stands and loose its silkiness. Garnishing with a few mint leaves, white pepper, a drizzle of lemon pesto and asparagus buds.