Monday, May 07, 2007

Caught the asparagus bug!

It seems like everybody is talking about asparagus now.. well those of us in the Northern Hemisphere at least. I think for many it is the highlight of spring. I like asparagus a lot, but with most vegetables, am not so incredibly enthusiastic about them. I think that is my problem; with most veggies, they are take it or leave it for me. But, I do need to eat more veggies, so decided to catch this asparagus bug too.

After simply roasting some asparagus the other night, which was delicious, I wanted to showcase them again, and since this blog's title is about loving risotto, I thought about making an asparagus risotto. Finding a recipe is not difficult for this dish, but I wanted to use a book in my collection so I didn't feel like they were there gathering dust.

For my birthday last year, my gorgeous friend Claudia gave me Antonio Carluccio's An Invitation to Italian Cooking.

I love Italian food so much, so I was really happy to get this gorgeous book. Antonio includes a good amount of risotto recipes, and the asparagus risotto is one of them.

I liked the method for making this particular risotto because instead of using stock, the cooking liquid from the softening of the asparagus is used. The soft asparagus are then finely chopped and incorporated into the risotto, and the spears are used for the decoration.

Turned out delicious. I have to confess to adding a tiny bit of a stock cube into the liquid, because I was worried that the risotto wouldn't taste seasoned enough, but I suppose you could season the risotto once it's done.

For our Italian lunch, I also made a simple salad and also a focaccia. The focaccia is a Tessa Kiros recipe from Apples for Jam. I've made this focaccia before, but it being very sticky, I think I may have added a lot of flour to it making it a sort of underwhelming bread. After working and reworking the Minimalist Loaf, I'm not so afraid of sticky matters, so thought I'd give this focaccia a whirl again. Everything worked out really well -- the crust was crunchy, the bread was soft and fluffy, but, it was tasteless -- I forgot the salt!! Ahhhh! Even the addition of the salt solution on top of the focaccia and some grated cheese and rosemary didn't do much to lift the bread. Bread is one of the only things in this world that tastes horrible without salt. Next time....

The salad turned out well and was a big flavor booster. It was just simply baby arugula leaves, dressed in a punchy balsamic vinaigrette I made, and topped with plum tomatoes and parmesan shavings. Yum, yum, yum!

So all did not go exactly to plan, but it was a lovely lunch regardless. And I've still got more asparagus to play around with!!!

1 comment:

Anna's kitchen table said...

I have been thinking of making an asparagus risotto too! Very seasonal.
I don't LOVE asparagus, but it's very nice wrapped in prosciutto and roasted a la Giada.