400g(2 cups) carnaroli rice (or any risotto rice you can get)
2Tbsp salted butter
2TbspEV olive oil
125ml(1/2) cup dry white wine (skip if you don’t do alcohol)
salt, if needed
freshly ground black pepper
For Finishing the Risotto
60g(2 oz) grated Džiugas
2Tbsp cold, salted butter
juice of 1 lemon
18-20asparagus spears(depending on serving)
pot of boiling water
60g(2 oz) grated Džiugas
large bowl of ice water
Place your stock, or water plus stockpots (or stock cubes) on high heat. Once it’s boiling, lower the heat down and leave it to simmer happily.
At the same time, bring another medium-sized pot of water to boil for the asparagus, with the ½ tsp of sodium bicarbonate. You can read up on the use of the sodium bicarb on the Asparagus Risotto post.
While waiting for the stock, chop the onion up finely.
Next, let's prepare the asparagus. Rinse them, then holding each stalk in your hands, towards the thicker end, just bend the asparagus. It will naturally break at the point where woody meets fleshy.
Drop the asparagus into the boiling pot of water (NOT THE RISOTTO STOCK) and cook for 2 minutes.
Drain, reserve the cooking water, and rinse in cold water or drop into a bowl of ice water, until later.
Cooking the Risotto
Heat the butter and olive oil on low heat and sauté the onions for 3 minutes, stirring.
Add the rice and coat with all that fat, stirring well. Toast the rice for 3 more minutes, until the edges turn translucent.
Increase the heat to medium and pour in the wine, stir, and leave to evaporate, stirring a little. Skip this step, if you don’t do alcohol.
Add 1 cup of the simmering stock and stir gently. You can take a break, it doesn’t need to be round and round constantly, just regular stirring while the stock evaporates.
When the stock has evaporated, add half a cup more of the stock, stir, and repeat this process for 13 minutes. Yes, watch the clock or put your kitchen timer on.
Check the rice at the 13-minute mark. It should be just about done, depending on your rice, and the heat. Is it cooked – soft on the outside with just a bite in the middle? Is the risotto looking creamy, like a thick version of rice pudding? If it is, it’s done. If it’s not, add 1/4 cup stock, and stir. When that stock has been absorbed, check again. You shouldn’t really need to cook more than 15-17 minutes.
Then check the seasoning – does it need salt? Add some if you think it does, and stir it in.
Take off the heat. Stir in the butter and the grated Džiugas and stir it all in thoroughly and vigorously for a whole 30 seconds. The mantecatura, remember?
Let's finish off with the grilled, Cheesy Asparagus
Dish up the risotto into serving plates.
Drain the asparagus (they are in the ice water) and dab dry slightly with kitchen paper. Divide the asparagus amongst the risotto plates, laying them on top.
Sprinkle the Džiugas generously all over the asparagus. Place under a hot grill for a few minutes until the cheese melts and browns slightly. You could also use a kitchen torch to brown the cheese. Serve immediately.