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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Asparagus Risotto

I’ve made it home to Buffalo and I have to say, it’s cold here! When I left Connecticut it was a balmy 35 degrees and sunny. When I landed in Buffalo it was a normal day, overcast, cold and snowy. Brr, dislike. Luckily in returning to Buffalo I was coming home. Coming home to my family and friends from my childhood. It’s been over seven years since I’ve lived in Buffalo and there are still things that I miss.

Buffalo might not be known as the foodie capitol of the US, but there are things that you can only get here. Local restaurants like Andersons and Teds call to me with their hot dogs and milk shakes. Summertime hang outs like Mississippi Mudds and Old Man Rivers make me want to hop on a bike and ride down the river. Nina’s custard taunts me with their ever changing array of soft serve. Finally Wegmans, the grocery store of all grocery stores.

I know that I can go to Wegmans and get everything that I need, from breakfast to dinner. It you are a resident of the Northeast then you are privy to the secrets of this grocery chain. If you are really lucky, then you get to watch Alec Baldwin perform terribly in Wegmans commercials. Check them out on YouTube, they are hilarious. Alec knows all about Wegmans. I know that I can get everything I need to cook boyfriend dinner, all in one place (which is helpful, since he has salt and pepper at his house). (Oh yeah, and some Gatorade).

Asparagus Risotto

This is a super easy dinner to prepare and you can have it on the table in less than thirty minutes. Grill up some chicken or turkey to go along with the risotto and you’ve got dinner! I didn’t feel like buying a whole bottle of wine to prepare the risotto, but we happened to have sparkling grape juice in the fridge! Enjoy the creaminess of this dish, knowing that you haven’t added any cream.

1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine or sparkling grape juice
3 ½ cups chicken stock
2 tbsp butter
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 bunch asparagus

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces and boil for 7-8 minutes, until asparagus is tender crisp. Drain and run cool water over the spears.

In a medium pot, bring chicken stock to a simmer. In a larger pot, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add rice and cook until rice is slightly browned and nutty. Add white wine (or juice) and stir until the wine/juice is cooked down. Begin adding stock, a ladle-full at a time, stirring for about three minutes in between each addition. You might not need to add all of the stock, when it gets to about 20 minutes test the risotto. If the rice has the texture you desire then discontinue adding stock.

Once you reach the desired texture remove rice from the heat. Add cheese and stir in. Add asparagus and gently fold in. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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