Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto

5 cupschicken or vegetable broth
1 to 2 tablespoonolive oil
1 poundasparagus, washed, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoonsbutter
1small onion, diced
1/2 poundmushrooms, roughly chopped
1-1/4 cupsArborio rice
1/2 cupdry white wine
3/4 poundmedium-sized shrimps, shelled and de-veined
1 teaspoonlemon zest (optional)
1/2 cupfreshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste


Makes 6 servings

1. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, warm the vegetable or chicken broth to a simmer. Set aside.

2. Using a large saucepan on medium to medium-high, heat olive oil. Add the asparagus and stir frequently until a little crispy. Remove the asparagus and place in a bowl.

3. Using the same large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the diced onion and stir on medium heat until onions are translucent and soft. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the rice and, stirring constantly, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Rice should be lightly coated with butter. Pour in the wine and stir constantly until the rice almost completely absorbs the wine.

4. Add one ladle or 1/2 cup of hot broth and stir constantly until the rice absorbs all the liquid. Repeat until you have added 3 cups of broth. Taste the risotto. When done, the rice should be al dente: soft with a little firmness in the center. If the rice is undercooked (too hard), add another one ladle or 1/2 cup of hot broth and stir until the rice absorbs it all. Taste. Repeat until risotto is al dente. If you run out of hot broth, use hot water.

5. Add the raw shrimp and pre-cooked asparagus. Stir frequently and continue to cook until the shrimp is cooked through and pink in color. Add lemon zest (optional) and Parmesan cheese. Stir to melt and incorporate. Taste. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot. Makes 6 servings

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