Asparagus & Chard Risotto


Beautiful rainbow chard & asparagus inspired me to create a risotto to really make the first local tastes of spring sing. When asparagus comes into the farmer’s market, you know that spring weather has arrived, if the gorgeous tulips in bloom around the city have not already convinced you that the season has indeed turned.

We love asparagus, and its arrival and departure are but a brief window in the growing season, so we generally eat as much asparagus as we can while it is so good. I will never buy asparagus in the grocery store – much like tomatoes, store-bought asparagus bears little relation to the vegetable grown in local soil, picked and eaten soon after it has left the field. This risotto received rave reviews from Mark, and is a perfect start to the local eating season ahead.

Asparagus & Chard Risotto
Serves 5

1 1/2 cup aborio rice
3/4 c white wine
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 T butter
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion, diced
1 bunch rainbow chard, washed, chopped and tough stems removed.
1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces, and steamed briefly, then cooled
8 oz shrimp, cleaned and deveined
salt & pepper to taste
handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
3 T chopped roasted tomatoes or sundried tomatoes
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Warm the broth in a covered pan, and maintain temperature at a bare simmer throughout the cooking process.
  2. Heat 1 T butter on medium heat in a large non-stick skillet. Add garlic and onions, sauté for 30 seconds. Add rice and stir frequently until rice is coated with oil, about 2 minutes. Pour in the white wine, and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking, and adding broth in 1 cup intervals, while stirring until absorbed. After 20 minutes of stirring, add the fresh chard, and stir into the risotto. Season with Salt and pepper as the risotto cooks. Continue adding broth until risotto is nearly done – about 8 more minutes. Add in the steamed asparagus and shrimp, and stir. Cook 2 more minutes, or until rice and shrimp are fully cooked.
  3. Stir in the chopped basil, freshly grated parmesan and oven roasted tomatoes and serve.

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