Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto

Adapted by
Daniel’s Dish: Entertaining at Home with a Four Star (Filipacchi Publishing, 2003) April 2004
Yield: 4 Servings


16 spears asparagus, peeled and trimmed
6 cups unsalted chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 sprig rosemary
16 small Gulf shrimp, peeled, deveined, and each cut into 3 pieces


Cut off top 2 inches of each asparagus spear and set aside. Cut next 2 to 3 inches of each spear into 1/4-inch-thick rounds; discard the remaining portion of stems.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus rounds and blanch for 4 minutes. Drain, hold under cold running water until cool, and then set aside.

Place 4 asparagus tips, about 1/4 of the asparagus rounds, and 3 Tablespoons water in a blender and purée until smooth. Set aside.

Pour chicken stock into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to a simmer.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and sweat, stirring with a wooden spoon, just until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes longer. Add the vermouth, and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the liquid has evaporated. Add 1 cup of simmering stock. Cook, stirring often, until the rice absorbs most of the liquid. Add another cup of the hot stock. Continue cooking, stirring and adding stock, 1 cup at a time, until 5 cups have been added. At this point, taste the rice. Usually, it will need another 1/2 to 1 cup of stock and a few more minutes to cook.

Stir in the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter, Parmesan, mascarpone, and asparagus purée. Add remaining asparagus rounds and stir to warm the asparagus; remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm.

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add remaining asparagus tips, garlic, and rosemary. Cook asparagus, tossing until it is tender but still crisp, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp and continue to cook until cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard garlic and rosemary.

To serve:
Spoon risotto into warm bowls, top with warmed asparagus tips and shrimp, and serve immediately.

Wine Pairing:
1996 Savennières-Becherelle from Domaine du Clos de la Coulée de Serrant or other Loire Valley wines produced from Chenin Blanc