January: Asparagus Risotto with Egg

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Mom’s Asparagus Soup Becomes Risotto!

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Buon giorno!

My mother, Loretta, used to make the loveliest Asparagus Soup especially in the winter. It was light and had a tomato broth. The best part of that soup was the Poached Egg that she added to the side of every bowl. I looked forward to piercing the yolk with my fork and letting the velvety yellow ooze flow into the tomato broth. When the yolk finally mixed with the broth, it created a smoother and thicker soup. Of course, the added protein also transformed the soup into a heartier meal. This was one of my favorite meatless meals…still is!

After musing about presenting this soup, I thought, instead, it might make an even more amazing risotto – taking an old favorite to a new level. The resulting ASPARAGUS RISOTTO WITH EGG has, along with being a beautiful variation on an old theme, become a new family favorite. I wish Loretta could see this one. She was a huge fan of rice in any form and loved risotto. I just think she might give me a wink on the new version of her “soup”.

I can’t tell you how satisfying this risotto is and even better – how easy it is to make. For a step by step on the general technique of making risotto check this link to my post on: Risotto With Brussel Sprouts and Chestnuts.

ASPARAGUS RISOTTO WITH EGG

Serves: 4-6

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 20-25 min.

Ingredients:

1 Can (28 oz) Whole Peeled Tomatoes (preferably San Marzano for best flavor and color)

5 c. Chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth if preferred)

4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

2 Cloves Fresh Garlic – chopped finely

1 Medium Onion, chopped

2 c. Arborio Rice

1 Bunch Fresh Asparagus, cut in short pieces – about 2”

2 Bay Leaves

1 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Sage

1 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Oregano

1 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley

2 Tsp. Chopped Fresh Thyme

1/2 c. Parmigiano – Reggiano Cheese

2 Tbsp. Unsalted butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

Fresh Basil and Sage for garnish

4 – 6 Eggs Poached (or fried)

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Instructions:

Remove the whole tomatoes from the can and chop them coarsely and warm them. Reserve the juices and puree for a dish for another day.

Warm the broth. Always add warm broth to your risotto.

Using a large pan, saute the garlic and onion in the olive oil – stir and cook on medium high heat about 5 minutes.

Add the rice to the pan and stir and cook the rice another 5 minutes on medium high heat – coating all of the rice kernels and toasting them a little.

Add the asparagus and the herbs to the pan and begin to add the warm broth starting with 1 cup. Keep stirring over medium high. As the broth is absorbed then add another ladle full. A large ladle is good for this. Keep repeating this process: adding the broth, stirring, and waiting for the rice to absorb before adding the next ladle. After a few ladles of broth, begin adding the warm tomatoes about 1/2 at a time. Then continue with the broth– adding, stirring, absorbing.

When you have used all your liquid – about 20-25 minutes – taste the risotto. The rice kernels should be al dente – not mushy – but with slight resistance.

Remove the risotto from the heat. Remove and discard the bay leaves! Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano to the risotto and mix in well. Add the unsalted butter and stir in. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Let it sit for a couple of minutes.

Garnish with Chopped Fresh Basil and Sage.

Poach (or fry) 1 egg for each person and serve it at the side of each individual serving.

To Serve: If you choose to serve a wine with this very rustic ASPARAGUS RISOTTO WITH EGG  dish – you might enjoy a Soave, a Falanghina, or a Verdicchio if you can find a nice one.

PARLA COME MANGI!

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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography

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