Asparagus Risotto With Shallots


500g asparagus
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp butter
½ cup shallots, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
3 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock (some of the asparagus cooking water can be substituted for stock)
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste

1) Prepare the asparagus by breaking off discarding the tough ends (about the last inch of the spear).  
2) Cut into 2 to 3cm pieces (tips longer, base shorter).  For larger asparagus, cut into even smaller (bite-size) pieces.  
3) Bring a saucepan with a litre of water to a boil.  
4) Blanch the asparagus pieces for 2 minutes.  
5) Use a slotted spoon to remove the asparagus pieces to an ice water bath to shock the asparagus into a vibrant green color and to stop the cooking.  
6) Drain from the ice water bath and set aside.
7) In a 3 or 4 litre saucepan, heat 3 tbsp butter on medium heat.  
8) Add the shallots and cook for a few minutes until translucent.  
9) Add the rice and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring until nicely coated.
10) While the shallots are cooking, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
11) Slowly add stock a half cup at a time.
12) Add the wine and stir slowly, allowing the rice to absorb the wine.  
13) Once the wine is almost completely absorbed, add half a cup of stock to the rice.
14) Continue to stir until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, adding more stock a half cup at a time.
15) Stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
16) Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, until all stock is absorbed, and the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 15 to 20 minutes.  
17) Remove from heat.
18) Gently stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining teaspoon of butter, and the asparagus.  
19) Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

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