Friday, March 6, 2009

Tastes Like Spring

Last year in the first week of March, I spotted this

This year, in the first week of March, it looked more like this.

(no, those aren't fresh stalks of anything peeking through the snow. Just dead stuff from last year)

The end of winter is a tricky thing in Pennsylvania. Winter just wants to stay a little longer than we want. Like a house guest you can't get rid of.

So, while I can't see the signs of spring yet. If I try, I can find the tastes.

At the farmer's market there was a lovely bunch of asparagus tips (That means it is spring somewhere, right?). They called to me. I responded. HP has been back from CA for about a week, & he brought with him some lovely lemons from his father's tree. So, I had lovely asparagus and bright lemon in the house, there was only one thing to do with it: I put together a risotto that I developed a few years ago.

Shrimp Scampi Asparagus

The basics of the risotto remain the same as all risottos, but the flavors are a knock out.

  • The Stuff
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 small Onion finely chopped (about ½ of a cup)
  • 2 Shallots finely chopped (about 1/3 of a cup)
  • 5 cloves Garlic, finely chopped-divided (about ¼ of a cup)
  • Coarse Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 cup Arborio Rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as a Pinot Gris (Grigio)
  • ½ lb. Asparagus, chopped— ½ the tips reserved
  • ¾ lb. Small (50-60's) Shrimp
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Thin slice of Lemon & fresh grated Parmesan Cheese for Serving

What to do with it

  • In a medium saucepan, bring broth just barely to a simmer; then keep warm over low heat.
  • In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium/medium low heat. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion has softened and is starting to become translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add Shallots & ½ the garlic. Sauté until soft.
  • Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add Wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.
  • Add about 1 ½ cups broth to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue adding broth, about 1 cup at a time, waiting for one cup to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, about 25 minutes total (you may not have to use all the liquid).
  • Lower the heat. Season Shrimp with salt & pepper, then add to rice. Add a little more broth if needed, stir cook about a minute until shrimp begin to turn pink. Add Lemon Juice, remaining Garlic and Asparagus, stir cook about a minute until Asparagus starts to turn bright green. Add Parmesan, season with salt and pepper and stir some more. When cheese is incorporated, add Asparagus Tips to top of rice. Put lid on and steam for a minute or two to barely cook the tips. Serve with thin slice of lemon & fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

This is very pretty with pink shrimp & bright green asparagus and the thin slice of bright yellow lemon in the center. I guess you would know that if I had my act together & got the camera down to the kitchen instead of the third floor.

After the first bite, HP smile and said, "MMMmmmmmm, this tastes like spring"

That was the idea.

1 garnishes:

noble pig March 6, 2009 at 7:18 PM  

Yep, the asparagus is out...aand it's beautiful. This sounds like anawesome recipe.

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