Sunday, December 7, 2008

Risotto with Asparagus-Shiitake Ragout

One of our favorite Saturday night meals is grilled filet mignon with risotto of some sort. I have made so many variations of risotto using many different ingredients. To see all of them, click on the risotto tag on the left side of this blog.

I browsed through recipes for ingredient ideas and liked what I saw on the Epicurious web site in this one for risotto with asparagus and morel ragout. I didn't follow their recipe for a basic risotto, but instead I made my basic risotto recipe and followed most of their recipe for the ragout.

My Basic Risotto

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped (I used a mixture of shallots and onions last night)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 c arborio rice
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken broth, heated (I used 6 cups last night since I needed some for the ragout; their recipe called for a mixture of broth and water, but I think you get better flavor when you use all broth, no water)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • Optional: chopped parsley for some color


  • Heat olive oil and butter in a large saute pan
  • Add shallots/onions and garlic; stir until tender, about 2 minutes.
  • Add arborio rice and stir until coated
  • Add the white wine and stir until absorbed
  • Add the chicken broth, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Add more broth only when all of the broth in the pan has been absorbed by the rice. This process of adding broth takes anywhere from 17 to 25 minutes. Taste as you go along so you don't over or under cook the rice.
  • When you add your final ladle of broth, add the cheese, and stir until broth is completely absorbed.
  • Serve immediately

Asparagus-Shiitake Ragout

I couldn't find morels so I used fresh shiitake mushrooms.

  • 1 lb medium asparagus, rough ends removed; diagonally chopped into 1 inch slices
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 lb fresh mushrooms - I used about 1 c, maybe a touch more, sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 c broth from the broth being used for the risotto (see recipe for details)
  • 1/2 c frozen baby peas - I didn't use these
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • Chopped fresh chives


  • When heating the broth for the risotto, add the asparagus and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to a bowl of ice water to stop it from cooking(I transferred it to a colander and ran cold water over it). Remove 1 c of broth from the pot and set aside to be used later.
  • When you have about 7 minutes of cooking time left on the risotto, start the ragout.
  • Heat 2 tbsp butter in a heavy skillet until foam subsides.
  • Add mushrooms and garlic, saute about 4 minutes.
  • Add the reserved 1 c of broth and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in peas, asparagus, lemon zest, and salt/pepper to taste. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining 2 tbsp of butter. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.

I enjoyed this ragout because I was able to really taste and enjoy the vegetables instead of having them mixed in with the risotto. The asparagus was firm - overcooked asparagus would ruin this dish. The mushrooms added an earthy flavor, while the lemon zest gave it some brightness. It's hard to see from my picture, but there was a nice creamy sauce in addition to that pile of veggies. It ran all the way through the risotto giving it nice flavor, and was also tasty on top of the steak.

I have some leftover ragout so I'm thinking of making some oven-baked tofu bites tonight to use it up.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

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