Saturday, October 22, 2011

MOFO - Day 22 - Roasted Asparagus and Porcini Risotto with Pine Nuts

To wind up That's Just Nuts (and Seeds) Week I'm being a nut repeater, but I think this is worth it. Today's recipe has a bit o' the pine nut in it. Risotto is not difficult to make, but it does require patience. It is super important to keep stirring while it is cooking. This helps release the starches and coax the creamines from the grains. It is also very important that once the rice is added, all ingrdients that are added are warm or even hot so that the rice does not stop cooking. If it stops cooking during the process, you will end up with crunchy and not so creamy grains.

Once you have had a well made risotto, you will be hooked. 1 cup of cooked arborio rice (the kind you should have for a true risotto) has 4.4g of protein. Add the 1 tablespoon of  pine nuts and add another 1.2 grams of protein. This recipe has a beautiful flavor profile. The earthy mushrooms combined with a hint of rosemary in the broth dance withe the garlic roasted asparagus and fresh oregano and thyme to give your tastebuds a subtle comfort food treat. The pine nuts add just the right amount of nutty crunch. Their creaminess is a great complement to the creamy risotto.

Roasted Asparagus and Porcini Risotto with Pine Nuts

Makes 8 Servings

1 cup dried porcini mushroom
1 1/4 cup boiling water
6 cups vegetable or mushroom broth
1 sprig fresh rosemary

½ pound asparagus, cut into ¼-1/2 inch pieces (approx 2 cups)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced (approx 1 ¼ cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

½ cup dry white wine, warmed
2 cups Arborio rice
½ cup toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small glass bowl, pour boiling water over dried mushrooms and set aside to soften for at least 20 minutes.

In a large saucepan add vegetable/mushroom broth and rosemary. Heat until just about boiling and turn down to the lowest setting your stove has.

In a 8 x 8 roasting pan toss asparagus, garlic olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven for about 15 minutes until al dente. Turn off heat and keep warm. In the mean time, drain mushrooms reserving liquid and chop mushrooms to about the same size as asparagus. Add 1 cup reserved mushroom liquid to pan with broth. Add mushrooms to pan with asparagus in warm oven. (I actually did this while the risotto was cooking but you must be a good multi-tasker).

In a small stock pot or very large sauce pan over medium heat, add the onions, oregano, salt and pepper. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, being very careful not to burn. Add Arborio rice and sauté until the rice is just barely starting to turn a light tan. Add warmed wine (it is very important that the wine is warm, almost hot, or the rice will stop cooking and will not soften up properly), stirring constantly. When the wine is almost totally absorbed, add about 1 cup of hot broth using a ladle, still constantly stirring. It will take a bit of time for the rice to absorb this first round of broth, but be patient. It is sooooo worth the wait. When the liquid is almost completely absorbed, add the next cup of broth and repeat. Just before adding your last cup of hot broth, stir in the asparagus mushroom mixture. Then add the last cup of broth, still stirring constantly, until the liquid is mostly absorbed. You want a bit of liquid left so that it has a beautiful creamy texture.

To serve, spoon into a wide but shallow bowl. Garnish with 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts and one fresh rosemary sprig for each serving. Serve immediately.

And now...the winner of the Chicago Diner Cook Book is....#8 Em!!!! She says she'd opt for a classic burger and fries if she were at the diner! Can't go wrong there. Em, please contact me with your mailing address so I can get your copy of Chicago Diner on its way!!! Congrats!!!!


  1. I just ate but seeing this risotto made me hungry. Looks great!

  2. porcini mushies + roasted asparagus + pine nuts sounds like a combination of excellence for a risotto. it looks fantastical and we haven't had a risotto in years. i think your tasty post is going to change that. mmmmmmmm!

  3. I still have some asparagus lying around so this looks like an excellent idea for it!