By Angie Quaale, owner of Well Seasoned
“Chèvre and asparagus really should get married! They’re the perfect couple.
This recipe tastes like spring to me. The rich earthiness of the asparagus pairs so well with the slightly acidic tang of the fresh chèvre. This is delicious served on its own as a main course or with a green salad. As a side dish, it can really class up a simple oven-roasted chicken. It’s a recipe I’ve been serving variations of for years. Once you have the technique for a great risotto you can really customize the flavors to highlight seasonal ingredients like these or local mushrooms in the fall. Don’t be afraid to experiment with this dish!”
Asparagus, ends trimmed (1⁄2 lb)
Chicken or vegetable stock (3 cups)
Unsalted butter (4 Tbsp)
Vegetable oil (1 Tbsp)
Yellow onion, finely chopped (1⁄2 cup)
Arborio rice (1-1⁄2 cups)
Milner Valley herb chèvre (1 tub (6 oz))
Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup)
Italian parsley, chopped (1 Tbsp)
Salt and pepper
- Prepare a bowl of ice water.
- In a sauté pan of salted boiling water, blanch the asparagus until the spears are fork-tender. With a set of tongs, transfer the spears to the ice water to stop the cooking immediately. Once the asparagus has cooled, cut the tips off and reserve for later. Chop the spears into 1/4-inch pieces and reserve.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer over medium heat.
- In a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan, place 2 tbsp of the butter, the vegetable oil, and the onions and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add the rice to the saucepan. Stir to coat it well. Add a ladleful of warm stock and stir with a wooden spoon to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When the liquid is evaporated, add another ladleful of stock, repeating until the grains of rice lose their chalky centers and are firm yet tender, about 25 minutes.
- Stir in the chèvre and add the asparagus stalks. When the risotto is done (it should be soft yet still slightly al dente), about another 8 minutes, turn off the heat. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, then the asparagus tips, parmesan, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the risotto to a serving platter and serve immediately.
Tip: Leftover risotto makes a great breakfast! Form the cold risotto into 1-inch-thick patties. Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat and add a bit of olive oil. Sauté the risotto cakes until golden brown and crispy. Serve them topped with an over-easy egg, a slice or two of crisp bacon, and a couple of slices of fresh tomato.
Excerpted from Eating Local in the Fraser Valley by Angie Quaale. Copyright © 2018 Angie Quaale. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.