Asparagus and Cremini Mushroom Risotto

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3 1/2 cups chicken stock*            $1.16

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil          $0.20

1 small yellow onion, chopped  $0.30

8 ounces cremini mushrooms    $1.00

1 pound fresh asparagus               $4.00

1 tablespoon chopped garlic       $0.10

3/4 cup arborio rice                       $0.45

1/2 cup dry white wine                 $1.00 (depends on the cost of your wine!)

1/4 cup grated parmesan             $0.26

1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme    $Free!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter    $0.20

zest of 1 lemon                                   $0.30

salt and pepper to taste                 $free-ish

                                        Total Cost = $8.97

Chop/Slice/What-have-you your onion, mushrooms, and asparagus and set aside separately.

In a small bowl, plop the butter, herbs, lemon zest, and grated parmesan cheese. No need to mix/stir. Just set aside (this is an attempt to make you plan ahead, so that you don’t end up with burned risotto due to a frantic search for your thyme/cheese at the last minute).

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer/low boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Place chopped asparagus (bite-size pieces) into stock for 3-4 minutes to blanch. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon to a separate bowl and set aside. Reduce the heat of the stock to low, and cover to keep stock hot.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan (ours was a 4 quart saucepan) over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the rice and prepare to STIR STIR STIR. (Constant stirring ensures creamy perfection.) No really, stir the rice for about 30 seconds, and then add the wine, and keep stirring, until the liquid is absorbed.

Now – here’s the important part. Add only 3/4 cup of the hot stock, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring all the while, until the stock is absorbed. Keep adding the stock at 3/4 cup intervals, allowing each addition to be fully absorbed before adding more. (This will take 20-25 minutes total).

Add the asparagus to the rice pot when you add the last addition of chicken stock. Stir stir stir. (almost done!)

Finally, add the contents of the butter/lemon zest/herbs/cheese bowl to the pot.  Stir stir. taste. Does it need salt or pepper? If so, add some!

Divide into bowls and devour. So good. Doesn’t the lemon zest just make this dish heavenly? We think so too.

ENJOY!

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