GINNA PARSONS: Creamy risotto worth stirring

About six months ago, I attended a cooking class at A Cook’s Place in Tupelo where Kathleen Kennedy was teaching lessons on Tuscan cooking. One of the dishes she made was a risotto with sweet potatoes.
I’d never had risotto before and the one Kathleen made was delicious. The problem was, she had to stand over the stove and stir the pot for a good 20 minutes. That just seemed like a lot of stirring to me.
Well, on Sunday, I was flipping through the April issue of Southern Living magazine and I came across a recipe for a risotto with asparagus and green onions. I just happened to have a half-pound of fresh asparagus and a bunch of green onions in the fridge, and I decided this was a sign that I needed to make this dish.
When I went to the grocery store that afternoon to do my weekly shopping, I found the Arborio rice – only it was in a two-pound container and cost almost $7. I was not going to spend that kind of money on something I might not ever make again.
I remembered the recipe said Arborio rice was a short-grain rice, as opposed to long grain, but all I could find was medium grain. But when I held up the $1.09 package of medium-grain rice next to the Arborio rice, it looked almost identical. So guess which one I bought?
This dish turned out beautifully and we all cleaned our plates. In fact, when putting away leftovers, I took a bite of the now room-temperature risotto and it was even better than when it was served hot.
It was well-worth the stirring. It may show up again at Easter.

Asparagus-and-Green Onion Risotto
2 tablespoons butter
34 cup chopped green onions
12 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
12 cups uncooked Arborio rice (short-grain)
4 to 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
12 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
13 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Garnish: shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat; add green onions and thyme, and sauté 1 minute or until onions are soft. Add rice, stirring to coat. Add 21⁄2 cups broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Add 1⁄2 cup broth, and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Repeat procedure with remaining broth, 1⁄2 cup at a time. (Total cooking time is about 20 minutes.)
Stir in asparagus. Simmer 3 to 5 more minutes or until asparagus is tender and mixture is creamy. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Garnish, if desired.
Makes 6 servings.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/ garden editor.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

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