Recipe: Asparagus and shrimp risotto

SEASONAL: Jumbo asparagus at the Santa Monica farmers market.
SEASONAL: Jumbo asparagus at the Santa Monica farmers market.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: For asparagus stock, reserve cooking liquid from other preparations.

3/4 pound thin asparagus


1/4 pound shell-on shrimp

5 cups water or reserved asparagus stock

3 tablespoons butter, divided

1/2 cup minced onion

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/4 cup dry white wine


2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 tablespoons snipped chives

1. Cut off the bottom 1 to 1 1/2 inches of the asparagus spears. Thinly slice the bottoms and add them to a large saucepan along with the trimmings from the minced onion. Shell the shrimp and add the shells to the saucepan. Cover with at least 5 cups of water or asparagus stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook at least 30 minutes to make a mild stock.

2. Cut away the very tips of the asparagus. Chop the shrimp in one-half-inch pieces and add them to the asparagus tips. Slice the remaining parts of the asparagus in one-fourth-inch rounds.

3. Cook the asparagus rounds, 2 tablespoons butter and the onion in a large skillet over medium heat until the onion softens but does not turn color, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until all the kernels are opaque, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it evaporates. Ladle approximately 1 1/2 cups of the simmering stock through a strainer into the rice and cook, stirring, until it evaporates. When the bottom of the pan is almost dry, add an additional one-half to three-fourths cup and repeat.

5. Keep cooking this way, adding more stock as needed, until the rice begins to swell and become tender. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and the reserved chopped shrimp and asparagus tips, and continue cooking until the rice kernels are swollen and completely tender. Do not cook the mixture dry; the final texture should be somewhat soupy with slightly thickened liquid. This will take about 20 to 25 minutes in all.

6. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter, the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and the snipped chives. Vigorously stir these into the risotto. The liquid will thicken even more. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Spoon into hot shallow bowls and serve immediately.

Each of 6 servings: 267 calories; 7 grams protein; 42 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 7 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 39 mg. cholesterol; 62 mg. sodium.