Risotto is one of those dishes that I have always been wanting to add to my repertoire. It's known to be one of the more labor-intensive dishes, requiring constant stirring and fairly little room for error. And as with any labor-intensive, finicky recipe, it is a dish that is a rite of passage for all chefs; once you have successfully cooked risotto, you reach a new culinary skill level.
My first attempt at risotto was a disaster, resulting in crunchy, flavorless rice. The other night, determined both to use up the asparagus I purchased from the Greenmarket and to give risotto one more try, I came across this recipe for asparagus risotto from The Amateur Gourmet to find out if I was finally ready to take my cooking to the next level. Fortunately for my pride as a cook, my second attempt at risotto was an overwhelming success, no doubt thanks to the terrific step-by-step instructions from The Amateur Gourmet.
The asparagus stalk puree is the key to this recipe, ensuring that every bite is filled with the great flavors of the season's first asparagus and that the dish has a wonderful green hue. The dish is the perfect celebration of spring and left me with little doubt that I could easily be a vegetarian if spring lasted all year round. Despite the small number of ingredients, this dish was a struggle for me, with the rice taking twice as long to become tender and creamy as the recipe indicated; after stirring constantly for nearly 40 minutes in my hot kitchen, I had worked up quite a sweat. However, the end result was well worth the effort.