Servings: 6 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 cup melon-seed-shaped pasta
2 cups arborio rice
6-3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, warm
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons mushroom powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 cup aged yellow cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup romano cheese powder
1/3 cup parmesan cheese powder, + extra, to taste and for garnish
1 bunch asparagus
1-1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns, freshly ground
1 tablespoon truffle oil, for drizzling
Trim about 2 inches from the root. Cut the asparagus into 3-inch pieces. Blanch the asparagus for 3 minutes in boiling water then transfer into an ice bath. (Dip the heads of the asparagus for 2 minutes only). Drain thoroughly of all water, then pat dry on a paper towel. Do not overcook, as the asparagus will continue to cook in the risotto mixture later; it should be still tender and crisp and not mushy or you would have depleted all the healthy nutrients.
In a deep saucepan, sauté the coarsely chopped garlic cloves in oil until golden. Transfer about half the amount of garlic onto a plate and set aside. In the same saucepan, add the shallots, stir until light golden, then sauté the asparagus for about 3 minutes. Add a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of parsley. Remove from the heat and transfer to the same plate with the garlic cloves.
In the same saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of butter and wait until it bubbles. Add the garlic until light golden, then add the pasta and rice. The butter should coat all the grains. Add 1 cup of broth and stir constantly.
After bringing the liquid to a boil, add garlic powder, romano cheese and cheddar then lower the heat to medium low for about 15 to 20 minutes. Season with mushroom powder. Check the liquid and periodically add 1/4 cup of stock when all the liquid is absorbed. Let simmer for another 15 minutes.
When rice is almost cooked, add the asparagus, remaining golden garlic, parmesan cheese and remaining butter. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Spray some truffle oil and sprinkle more parmesan before serving.
If you like other types of cuisine, check out the Indian equivalent to risotto called Biryani. It's a saffron-flavored basmati rice. You can also check out the Asian equivalent with Cantonese-style fried rice.
I think mixing macaroni with the arborio rice brings a lot more starch. The most similar shaped pasta to arborio rice is the melon seed shaped one. I buy the Mexican brand, El Mexicano "Semillas". It is sold in a 7 oz package.
I finely chop a chunk of parmesan and romano cheese and place the pieces in a mini food processor to obtain parmesan and romano cheese powder.
Coating each grain in butter prevents them from sticking to one another.
I lowered the salt because I added mushroom powder which is already salty. You can find mushroom powder in specialty stores like Whole Foods.
You can also use chicken broth, which is actually the more standard way to prepare risotto. My hubby is a vegetarian so I use vegetable broth.
To get a cheesy flavor and yellow color without the stringy cheesy bits, add it right after boiling the broth.
For the asparagus, remember to trim off a little piece from the root; it tends to be very fibrous. Another method is to snap off the asparagus. Hold the asparagus firmly between your fingers, bend it and the fibrous part will break and come off naturally.
It's important to pour ladlesful of warm stock. The key is to pour the liquid incrementally and never let the dish dry out, or it will burn the rice at the bottom.
For this dish, I used exactly 6 1/4 cups of broth. The quantity of liquid may vary depending on the heat of the stove and how long you're cooking the rice. At the end, I let it simmer uncovered, sometimes adding another 1/4 cup of liquid until I achieve the right consistency and level of doneness. I like the rice al dente, not mushy.
I usually follow Anthony Bourdain's advice by adding garlic, shallot and butter to my dishes. Read Kitchen Confidential, it's an awesome look at the restaurant business.