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Try the Risotto w/Asparagus & Mushrooms



 Risotto - is not a hard dish to make at requires that once you begin - you stay by the stove to continue stirring - The trick to the creaminess is the constant stirring that allows the rice cook. 

 For this recipe you will need:  Carnaroli Rice - different and distinct from Arborio rice.  It comes from the province of Vercelli, in the Piedmont region in Northern Italy, has a higher starch content and is a bit longer than its cousin. Many in Italy refer to this rice as "superfino" (super fine) or as "The King of Rices". 

This dish is most common in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy which is just south of the Piedmont region.  As you might imagine - it is the combination of both the Emilia and the Romagna regions.   It is considered one of the jewels of Europe and has the 3rd highest GDP per capita in Italy.  ER is a major cultural and tourist destination as it contains some of the greatest renaissance cities including Modena, Parma and Ferrara.  It is also home to the auto makers:  Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Ducati. 

Ingredients:  Carnaroli Rice, butter, onion, mushrooms,  asparagus, Prosciutto di Parma, couple of ripe roma plum tomatoes, lite cream, beef broth, Parmegiana Cheese. 

Start by dicing the onion, slicing the mushrooms and dicing the tomatoes.  Set aside.  Now blanche the asparagus in salt water and then cool in an ice bath to halt the cooking.  Cut the tips and set aside.  You will not be using the stalk. 
 In a pot - bring 8 cups of beef broth to a boil and then turn down to simmer. 

 In a  separate pot - on med heat - melt the butter - 3/4 stick or so.....(can never use to much),   add the diced onion and sauté until soft and golden.   Now add the rice - 1/2 - 3/4 of a lb or so... and prosciutto. Stir and cook for about 3 to 5 mins....You want the rice to take on a toasted color.  (like golden brown).  Now - one ladle at a time add the broth to the rice and stir...allowing the rice to absorb the broth before adding another ladle

After the 3rd ladle - add the mushrooms & continue cooking.   After about 15 mins....the rice should be aldente and you will still have some broth left over....(you should have used about 5 ladles of broth) no worries....that's ok. 

Next add the asparagus and the diced tomatoes.  You really only want some color from the tomatoes - you do not want it to be 'tomatoey'.  Mix well and cook for a couple more mins....Now add about 1/4 cup of lite cream - again mix well.   Taste the rice - check that it is aldente ...Do not add salt - If you are satisfied - add 1/4 stick of butter and a couple of handfuls of parmegiana cheese.  Mix well and serve immediately in warmed bowls.  (If you think it is not creamy enough - feel free to add another ladle of broth.)

Buon Appetito.

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