Whenever we have fresh asparagus, my husband wants risotto. But the gluey texture, and the extreme earthiness of it in most circumstances, kinda makes me want to gag. This last time, I finally got it right: this recipe is as light and summery as the vegetables in it. Making risotto is always a bit time-consuming, and you may think that my direction to steam the veggies separately is going too far, but you know what? F*** YOU, you don't know! Just kidding. But seriously, this keeps the whole dish from feeling like pre-chewed mush in your mouth. So if you're too lazy to chew your food, or if you are a toddler, go ahead and do it all at once. But if you're a toddler, probably make sure a parent is around to help supervise. Good luck.
Summer Corn and Asparagus Risotto
2 cups asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 ½” pieces
1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine, just thaw it)
About 1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Bunch fresh basil, chiffonaded
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small serrano chile, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup any short-grain white rice
2 cups vegetable stock
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, + more for serving
Salt and pepper to taste
Roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for garnish (optional)
First, steam the asparagus and corn until the asparagus is bright green and crisp-tender. Place in a bowl and stir in the butter, lemon juice, basil leaves and some salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, and serrano until fragrant and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Decrease the heat to low, stir in ½ cup of the broth, and cover. Allow to simmer, checking on it occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Continue to do the same, about ½ cup at a time (you could do more than this if you want to do less babysitting). When it’s a bit soupy and the rice is getting pretty soft, add the wine and cheese, cover again, and check back to make sure it’s soft enough. If it’s not and you’re out of liquid, just add a little bit of water (maybe ¼ cup) and let is cook some more.
When the risotto is still a little loose but the rice seems done enough, stir in your steamed vegetable mixture. Uncover and allow the liquid to reduce to your liking, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with pepitas if you prefer. Sprinkle more cheese on top, or place it on the table for individual cheese monsters.