Morel mushrooms are sautéed to bring out the best of their earthy flavor. Arborio rice is cooked in light vegetable broth and then tossed with the crispy morels and blanched springtime asparagus before being topped with some grated pecorino. This recipe comes to us from Jennie Menke.
- 2 cups morel mushrooms, washed
- 1 large bunch asparagus, cut diagonally into 2 inch pieces
- 6 cups low sodium vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 large clove garlic, pressed
- 1 cup pecorino or parmesan cheese, finely grated
- ½ lemon*, cut into wedges
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and sauté 5-7 minutes, or until the mushrooms have started to brown and crisp. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the asparagus become bright green and bends just a bit under pressure. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon into a large bowl of ice water to stop it from cooking. When asparagus has cooled remove it from the ice water bath and set aside.
Place the stock and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
In a separate large Dutch oven or pan large enough for the finished risotto, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the rice and sauté for another 2-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is mostly absorbed. Add 1 cup of the stock water mixture, stirring, until the stock has been absorbed to the point that there isn’t any liquid sitting at the bottom of the pan. Repeat with another cup of watered stock until that stock is mostly absorbed to the same standard. Repeat until you are out of liquid. This process should take about 20-30 minutes, or until rice is al dente and has released its starches to reach a creamy consistency. Taste the rice often towards the end of the broth process.
Stir in the sautéed mushrooms and the blanched asparagus. Add the grated cheese and stir until combined. Top the risotto with a squirt of lemon juice, a sprinkling of cheese and serve immediately.