Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Let's pop some bubbley!

Risotto is a labor of love... lots of stirring, and adding liquid, and more stirring. But once the creamy texture forms, and the smell of parmesean cheese is oozing from the pan, it makes it all worth while!

After our wedding in May, I found myself starring at 5 bottles of champagne... 4 were gifts, 1 was leftover from my bridal shower. I quickly went on a hunt to find recipes in which I could put some of the champagne to good use (I didn't use all of it, of course... I had to save some to sip out of the beautiful Tiffany flutes we were given :)). I adapted this recipe from allrecipes.com and it was a huge hit with our dinner guests! I added the asparagus for a bit of bite and color & some mushrooms too (to be able to tell myself it had veggies in it!!).

Enjoy :)

Champagne and Asparagus Risotto



8 thin slices prosciutto

6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

24 asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces

portobello mushrooms

4 tablespoons butter, divided

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 ½ cup Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice

1 ½ cup Champagne

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the slices of prosciutto on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until the prosciutto slices are almost completely crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. The slices will crisp up even more as they cool. Reserve for garnish.

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Blanch the asparagus in the chicken stock for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside and keep the chicken stock at a low simmer.

In another medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat in the butter. Continue toasting the rice, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes more. Add the Champagne and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the asparagus, remaining butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Spoon the risotto into serving dishes and garnish by breaking the crisp prosciutto into smaller pieces over the top of the risotto. Serve immediately.

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