Get used to it - I'm going to be talking about our trip to Italy for a LONG time. Mostly because it was INCREDIBLE! This is one of the dishes that was demonstrated for us while in Florence, at Florencetown Cooking School. We thought they were crazy when they told us how they made it, using every last part of the asaparagus! But in typical Italian fashion, they created a beautiful, flavorful dish, using everything Mother Nature offered them. And I'm SO excited to be able to share that with you today.
First off - let's talk a little about how amazing asparagus are for you in general. Those skinny stalks are packed with all kinds of good-for-you nutrients. They help support your thyroid, your nervous system and are PACKED with vitamins and minerals! Asparagus can also help you detox, drawing ammonia from the body, leaving you feeling energized.
With this dish, you're getting the full effect because we're using the entire stalk. The tough, fibers ends are boiled and pureed, while the tender florets are simply tossed in to the dish. We even use the water we cooked them in! Adding layer, upon layer of asparagus flavor. Watch the video below and try the recipe at home! You won't be disappointed!
*To make the dish vegan, simply add 2 Tbs. olive oil to the pan, omitting the butter, and skip the cheese, or swap in nutritional yeast.
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs. butter
1 bunch asparagus
1 C. arborio rice
salt & pepper to taste
parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
Cut asparagus tips and tender part from the thick, woody stems. Place in separate bowls.
Bring a small pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook the thick stems until fork tender, about 5-8 minutes depending how big they are. Remove the stems from the water, reserving the cooking liquid. Set the cooking liquid over low heat.
Puree the stems and set aside.
In a deep saute' pan, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add rice and allow to toast - another minute. Slowly pour in about 3/4 C. of the water from the stems. Continue stirring rice until the liquid is absorbed and the mixture begins to look dry again. Now add in some of the puree. Stir, cooking until again the liquid is absorbed. Continue in this fashion for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is al dente. If you run out of liquid, you can add vegetable stock.
Once the rice is cooked, season the dish with salt, pepper and parmigiano. Serve hot.