The time feels a little wonky today, owing to that hour leap forward. I marvel at the difference an hour makes every year, throwing one day out of whack as we adjust to the disconnect between the light in the sky and the time on the clock.
I listened to the latest episode of Radiolab while making this risotto. It’s about how we get in the way of ourselves, how short term goals sometimes stand as obstacles to long term aspirations. And how people navigate that and overcome it – our small and large triumphs. Which reminded me of Nicholas Kristof’s thoughtful, inspired editorial that talked about the resilience of the Japanese, how stoic and resolved they are in the face of this rather incomprehensible tragedy. And let’s not forget the man who survived on the roof of his house, nine miles out to sea, amidst all the turbulence of the tsunami. That made me weepy. His story was, I think, a small triumph in the midst so many great tragedies. We all need a little bit of that.
Between the weather, the time change and the surreality of what’s unfolding in Japan, there is something especially sweet and comforting in the act of being read to. So let me direct you to that stellar hour of Radiolab. Let them be your narrators today, whether you’re making a rainy day risotto, cleaning the house, or burrowing under the covers.
This Asparagus + Spring Onion Risotto Recipe is part of the March Seasonal Food Guide.
ASPARAGUS + SPRING ONION RISOTTO
Yield: about 6 servings
2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup dry white wine
8 ounces asparagus, ends trimmed, sliced one inch thick at an angle
3 medium spring onions, cleaned and sliced, green stalks discarded
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of one lemon
salt + black pepper to taste
In a small pot on the back burner, warm the vegetable or chicken broth.
On the front burner in a large pot, melt half the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about three minutes, stirring ocassionally.
Add the rice and cook for another two minutes, stirring.
Add the wine, continue to stir.
Once the wine has been mostly absorbed, about 5 minutes, begin adding the warm stock in 1/2-1 cup increments. People often tell you to stir constantly, but in the beginning it’s alright to let it be for a bit.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add the remaining half tablespoon of butter. Saute the asparagus until just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, continue to monitor the risotto, adding stock as needed, and stirring regularly.
Towards the end, as the risotto plumps and cooks, you will need to keep a pretty constant eye on it, stirring frequently so that the rice doesn’t burn.
When all of the stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through, remove from heat.
Stir in the cup of parmesan. Add the asparagus, parsley, lemon juice and zest, and stir to combine.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.