Diane Seed is known to those who have been fortunate enough to attend her occasional classes, as a teacher who weaves a spell, while she infuses Italian history and a story with each dish she creates with you. I had the pleasure of spending an evening with her and it was truly the highlight of my cooking journey. She is fascinating, and so pleasant. She glides in the kitchen with an ease that is contagious. I found myself be very child-like and wanting to mimic her every move.
One of the dishes we made while I was graced with her presence was Asparagus Risotto. She taught me most people feel the need to make their risotto with Arborio Rice, but she compared it to Minute Rice and she said Carnaroli Rice is the only rice for GOOD risotto. When I came back home I couldn’t find it though. I found some on Amazon.com to order. I also found it in the North Beach or Little Italy while I was in San Francisco. So you might have to search for it in your hometown.
I hope you take the time to make this dish. It is truly an indulgence well worth it. This is taken from my notes. Enjoy her comments about some of the ingredients!
2 pounds fresh green asparagus
1 3/4 oz butter (
1 medium onion, finely chopped
10 ounces Carnaroli rice (the only rice to use Anything else used will taste like Minute)
8 ounces good dry white wine ( cook with what you would drink, not cheap)
a little light stock, (asparagus water about 3 cups or more)
1 3/4 ounce freshly grated parmesan cheese (buy a good quality and grate it yourself)
Cut off the extreme tips(1 to 1 1/4 inch) of the asparagus and reserve. Cut the remaining stalks into pieces (1 3/4 inches) and cook quickly in a little salted water. When they are tender, puree and sieve to eliminate any tough fibers. Stir this pulp into cooking liquid to make an asparagus stock. (this is the salted water the asparagus cooked in).
Melt 1 1/2 ounce of the butter in a large pan, add the onion and let it begin to soften before adding the asparagus tips. With a wooden spoon ( must be a wooden spoon) stir in the rice and let it absorb in the flavor of the butter and pour in the wine. Turn up the heat so the wine evaporates quickly then ladle on a little of the boiling asparagus stock. When the rice has absorbed the liquid add another ladle of stock and continue in this way until the rice is cooked. You may need to use a different stock if the asparagus stock is finished before the rice is tender. It is important to add only boiling stock a little at a time to the rice. This process usually takes about 20 minutes and needs constant care. ( just like a baby or a man!!)
When the rice is cooked check for seasoning and stir in the remaining butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Add your black pepper to your taste.