In Germany, there is a fifth season. During the spring, there is a time dedicated solely to asparagus (Spargelzeit), which in Germany is the absolute symbol of spring. A huge deal is made out of this by marketers and consumers alike (speaking of marketers, I now have the stupid jingle for Thomy hollandaise sauce for Spargel in my head, and I know everyone who has ever watched TV in Germany in the spring knows what I am talking about), and this was very intriguiging to my husband when he moved here, since every single restaurant was advertising it and you could
eat it just about as ubiquitously as Berlin’s n°1 food — the curry wurst. The region around Berlin is particularly known for a thick white asparagus, the Beelitzer Spargel; but I personally really like the green kind, which has only been available for a few years here.
Anyway, enough silly stories. I like asparagus in a risotto, so here goes.
Asparagus Risotto with Herbs
prep time: 10min, cooking time: 20-25 min
a bunch of asparagus (about 500 g), washed and roughly chopped with heads reserved
3 tbsp of various fresh chopped herbs (I used basil, parsley and cilantro)
1 small onion, diced
2 cups of risotto rice
5 cups of chicken/vegetable broth, hot
2 tbsp of butter
lots of parmesan
Break of the ends of the asparagus, remove the heads and chop into bits. Melt 1 tbsp butter with some olive oil in a heavy saucepan and add the onion and about half the herbs. Fry on low heat until translucent. Add the rice and stir until translucent. Add the chopped asparagus, stirring until everything is well coated in the butter/olive oil.
Slowly add about 1 cup of the hot broth to the rice, stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Kepp adding broth while stirring, until the rice has softened. When the rice still has some bite to it, add the reserved asparagus heads and the rest of the herbs. Turn of the heat, add the other tbsp of butter and parmesan to taste. Cover and let it rest for a few min before serving.
This is my basic way of doing risotto, you can subsitute the add on ingredients and some wine/vermouth for one cup of liquid if you like. You could also be extra indulgent and serve it with a dollop of mascarpone