Today brought a quick and easy early summer meal, when there are still a few bunches of local asparagus coming through and the craving turns to something more refreshing. Risotto is one of the best basic recipes; like a white dress shirt, it can be dressed up and down according to whim or necessity.
I had a bunch of asparagus in the fridge that was slouching towards the other side of fresh. We walked past Whole Foods on the way home, and the only counter not mobbed was the fish counter, so a package of shrimp later and we were on our way. We had some crisp Riesling in the fridge, so there was a little for the dish and a little more for us (my favorite kind of cooking). In the end, like the white shirt, the dinner was a result that belied the little effort that went into making it.
Shrimp and asparagus risotto
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1 C. arborio rice
1/2 C. crisp white wine
2+ C. vegetable stock
Handful of asparagus, the tough ends snapped off, cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb shrimp
In a large saute pan, add a swirl of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Saute onion until soft. Add garlic and cook gently for a few minutes, then add rice and cook, stirring, for another few minutes. Add wine and let it cook down into the rice. Start to add warm stock, 1/2 C. at a time, waiting between each addition for the rice to absorb the liquid as it cooks. Stir frequently (or just enough).
When rice is nearly cooked, add asparagus (if the stems are older or tougher, add earlier). Push rice and asparagus to edge of the pan and add the shrimp in the center, stirring for a minute until they begin to cook. Then stir dish around to ensure all ingredients are incorporated and cooked, and season to taste.