Risotto with fresh asparagus, pancetta and asaigo

May 21, 2006


Inspired by a coworker's statement about how easy this was to make, I knew I had to try it.  I'm not a large consumer of white rice, but I do like the brown and wild variety so I thought I should at least give risotto a chance.  Given that there was a large amount of asparagus on hand as well, it was a great way to use some of it up.

To serve two, you'll need:

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 cups stock (I used chicken, but pork would be great too!)
  • 6-8 pieces of pancetta
  • 1 vidalia onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2/3 cup asaigo cheese
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup asparagus

Start by preparing your stock and cooking the pancetta.  I'd not used pancetta before, so I learned that it cooks much like bacon but at a faster pace and it's wise to use a slightly lower temperature.  Ventilation is also a valuable tip to give- so if you can't air out your kitchen, take the battery out of the smoke alarm.

Lightly fly the onion and garlic together until it smells delicious and in a separate (but larger pan) toast the arborio with the fat from the pancetta.  If you don't want to use it, substitute olive oil instead.  Combine the ingredients into the larger pan, and stir well, slowly adding white wine.  Keep stirring and stirring.  Pour a glass of wine for yourself and get out a ladle. 

As liquids in the vessel you're stirring gently become absorbed, add about a ladle full of stock.  Stir some more and repeat until you're out of stock.  Add pancetta, asparagus and cheese until combined well, and serve.


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