This was instantly a house favorite! It’s savory and filling, and the prosciutto gives it crunch and the asparagus balances the otherwise heavy nature of the risotto. From start to finish, this dish only takes about 30 minutes to prepare, and comfortably serves two. Plus, you’ll have half a bottle of Prosecco just hanging around. As Giada says in her book, this is great for a romantic, cozy night in. Kids also love risotto, and this one is light on the butter and cheese and can be as heavy as you please on the asparagus!
Adapted from Everyday Pasta
4 thin slices prosciutto
3 cups chicken broth or stock
12 asparagus spears, cut on a bias into one-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
3/4 cup Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
3/4 cup Prosecco or Champagne
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 medium saucepans
Preheat your oven to 450ºF. Place the prosciutto slices on a baking sheet and bake until crispy, 6-8 minutes. It’s better to go a little under done, for they will continue to crisp up on the tray while cooling.
In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken broth to a high simmer, but not quite a boil. Blanch the asparagus in the chicken broth until barely tender, 3-5 mintues, then remove them with a slotted spoon and let them drain in a colander. Keep the chicken broth just under a simmer. We want it warm, but not evaporating away before we can use it!
In another medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. If it starts to brown, your heat is too high! The goal is to make the shallot sweet and translucent without browning. Next, add the arborio rice, stir to coat it in the butter, and toast it for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Next, add the Prosecco or Champagne and simmer until nearly dry, another 3 minutes. (And the rest of that bottle just has to go somewhere… oh well!)
Now comes the part where you add chicken stock 1/2 a cup at a time until there is no more! It’s time for another 1/2 cup when the risotto is nearly dry. You must keep stirring constantly! This will bring out the creaminess in the rice, as well as cook it uniformly. Resist the urge to just pour in all of the stock, and also resist the urge to turn the heat up above medium! All that stirring will be worth it, I promise!
Remove from the heat and stir in the asparagus and Parmesan, and season your risotto to taste with salt and black pepper. Scoop into bowls and crumble the crisped prosciutto over top. Enjoy with a glass of Prosecco for a warmed belly and a bubbly head: the perfect set up for reading the end of that detective novel. Or whatever other people do at the end of a romantic evening. Geez.