There still seems to be a bit of asparagus about, although we are definitely coming to the end of the season. This easy and delicious recipe is a great way to use up those last precious bits of seasonal, local asparagus. You don’t need a lot to make this risotto really special. Pancetta is Italian bacon, and often comes already chopped from the grocery store. However, you can easily substitute chopped bacon if it is unavailable.
I like to serve this with hot rolls fresh from the oven or my Mom’s garlic bread.
1 tablespoon butter
2 - 3 leeks, washed and sliced or 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup risotto rice
about 4 cups chicken stock
1 glass white wine
(or about ½ cup more stock if you prefer to leave out the alcohol)
½ to ¾ cup chopped pancetta or bacon
a good handful of asparagus (or more if you like), each stalk cut in 2 to 3 pieces
Melt the butter over medium to low heat in a large saucepan. Add the leeks or onion and sauté gently, stirring often, until they begin to become translucent.
Meanwhile, fry the pancetta or bacon in a small saucepan. When it is done, remove from the heat and set aside.
Stir the rice into the buttery leeks or onions, and allow it to get coated in the buttery vegetable mixture. Stir in the white wine until it is absorbed. Now begin adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring after each addition until it is absorbed.
When you have about a cup of stock left, add the asparagus. Now gradually add the remaining stock, stirring carefully (so as not to break up the asparagus) until it is absorbed, and tasting from time to time until the rice is al dente and tastes creamy. Stir in the pancetta or bacon and heat through.
Serve in warmed bowls.