Sometimes, the idea of cooking a big meal after a hard day at work is just too much to bear.
That’s especially the case as Spring draws in. Lighter meals are the order of the day and you’re not as prone to eating the comfort foods that your body desires in the winter.
Plus, there’s more fresh fruit and veg available. Perhaps you could find something that’s simple to make, seasonable, and gives you something nice and tasty to enjoy with a bottle of your favourite Italian wine.
That’s exactly what we’re hoping you’ll get from this post. The Italian classic of risotto is the perfect choice for this situation. And when mixed with asparagus, you get a tasty dish that’s just begging for you to eat it.
Of course, that means you have just one question to ask.
How do you make an asparagus risotto?
We’re going to share an amazing recipe here with you before recommending a couple of wine pairing options that you may want to consider.
Before we get to the recipe in earnest, we’d like to give credit to the BBC Good Food website. Their recipe has inspired this article and it’s the one that we’ll be sharing with you.
With that out of the way, here are the ingredients that you’ll need to make your own asparagus risotto.
- Six spears of asparagus with the woody bits at the end removed.
- A chopped clove of garlic.
- A single tablespoon of olive oil.
- One chopped shallot.
- Approximately 200 grams of risotto rice. The type doesn’t matter so you’re free to choose whatever you want here.
- About 500ml of your preferred vegetable stock.
- 250ml of an Italian white wine of your choice. We recommend saving the expensive stuff for drinking and just using a table wine for the cooking.
- About 75g of grated cheese. Parmesan is the best choice here but you can use a similar hard cheese if preferred.
- 25g of butter.
- Pinches of salt and pepper that you’ll use for seasoning.
As we said, this recipe is all about simplicity. In fact, it takes just 30 minuted to prepare (less if you’re especially efficient) and it produces enough asparagus risotto to serve two people.
There are only a few steps to follow too.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and place the asparagus inside. Boil the vegetable for a couple of minutes, at which point it should start to get tender.
Following this, drain the pan and give the asparagus a little time to cool. Then, remove them and chop before leaving to the side.
While doing this, you should also be preparing your vegetable stock, which needs to be heated up and made ready for its use with the risotto.
The risotto takes a little but more time to make.
First, pour your oil into a pan and heat it. Once the oil’s ready to go, fry your garlic and shallot over a low flame until that start to go soft. The sweet point here occurs as the ingredients soften but before they start to change colour.
At this point, you should add your risotto fry it for about a minute. Keep stirring until the rice is completely coated in the oil.
After the minute’s up, pour your wine into the pan and bring it to a simmer. Leave until the risotto completely absorbs the wine.
At this point, you’ll start adding your vegetable stock into the mix. Use a ladle to add a spoonful of the stock to the risotto. Each time you add a spoonful, stir well to allow the risotto to absorb the stock.
Repeat until the rice is fully cooked. You may not end up using all of the stock but most of it should be gone.
When that’s done, add your butter, grated cheese and asparagus into the mix.
Stir well and add a little salt and pepper for seasoning.
You’re pretty much done.
With all of the ingredients stirred in, remove the pan from the flame.
Use your ladle to divide it into two portions and serve.
The Italian Wines
So, you’ve got your tasty dish of asparagus risotto ready and you want to tuck in.
But before you do, you need to pick out an Italian wine or two that might complement the dish.
And that’s where things start to get a little tricky. Asparagus is one of the most difficult vegetables to pair with a wine. However, the presence of other ingredients, namely the cheese, help to add some more depth to the dish’s flavour profile.
This, in turn, means that you have a few more options available to you when choosing your wine.
Our number one choice for this dish is a nice and dry Pinot Grigio. The crispness of the wine works really well with the fresh taste of the asparagus. Plus, it’s powerful enough to not get overwhelmed by the richness of the cheese. There are plenty of Pinot Grigio wines available on the xtraWine website and any one of them could make for a good choice here.
On more general terms, you should likely avoid Italian red wines as they’ll quickly overpower the dish and make it impossible for you to enjoy all of its flavours.
Anything that’s too tannic or oaky may also cause issues, so avoid both wherever you can. Generally speaking, you should probably go for a white wine that has citrus undertones. These offer a sharp contrast to the mellower flavour of the asparagus.
The Final Word
The true challenge with this dish doesn’t lie in pairing the risotto. In fact, the rice is versatile enough to work with several types of wine.
It’s the asparagus that presents the real challenges here.
Our recommendations should set you on the right course. But as we always say, it’s better to go for the wine that you love than the wine that someone else recommends.