Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto
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.
Spoon risotto into warm bowls, top with warmed asparagus tips and shrimp, and serve immediately.
1996 Savennières-Becherelle from Domaine du Clos de la Coulée de Serrant or other Loire Valley wines produced from Chenin Blanc