savory shiitake asparagus and artichoke risotto

Sometimes, life is about patiently stirring some rice in a skillet and making risotto. 

Sometimes, life is about realizing that your "collection" of cotton sundresses that are totes perfect for New England are "totes not perfect" for your weekend in Miami. Blurg.

That is the reality that I'm coming to at 10:30 on a Monday night. I've had weeks to prepare for this but instead I was making soup, seeing seals, and I'm not sure what else. Probably watching Downton Abbey. I do that alot.

So, the downside for tonight is the fresh hell that I'm so unprepared for my exciting and awesome weekend away. Even if I skip going to yoga tomorrow night, I won't be able to make it anywhere for anything. Double blurg.

The upsides? I'm three days away from pillow talk with some besties and I made a delicious risotto on a weeknight. I almost made this risotto twice this weekend but just keep putting it off and I'm glad I did. I savored this creamy delight tonight while I guilty watched "The Bachelor". 

I didn't take many / any pictures of this process.... except of the amazing onions getting all warmed up with the butter. They were just too pretty for words. When you put real butter on diced onions you just know it's going to be a good dish.

(Step 1) Bring broth and water to a boil in a pot. Add asparagus and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Theoretically you should then transfer asparagus with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain and pat dry. That's the plan. It seemed like a lot of work to me, so I put transfered them to a bowl. Easy peasy. But, keep the broth at a bare simmer. Don't get rid of all that hard work.

(Step 2) Heat oil with in a pan over moderately high heat and saute mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes. I just tossed them in on top of the asparagus. All the business in a bowl, you know how I do.

(Step 3) Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Then pop the rice in the pan and cook, stirring, 1 minute. 

(Step 4) This is when you start to do some serious work / stiring / nothing else in your kitchen. Ladle in 1 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is just tender and looks creamy, 18 to 20 minutes. Since I never measure anything.... I just kept going with the broth until I liked the consistency. I ended up having to add a little water to the "asparagus broth mixture" from earlier. No biggie. Also, you will want to save a bit of leftover broth for thinning in a bit.

(Step 5) Almost eating time I promise. Remove from the pan from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese, remaining tablespoon butter, and salt and pepper to taste. I honestly didn't need any salt because the broth was rather salty. Gently stir in asparagus, artichokes and mushrooms, then cover pan and let stand 1 minute. Since I used canned artichokes, I made just to try and really mix those in so they wouldn't be like cool or anything. I'm weird. It doesn't even seem like that's really possible since they are so thin. 

(Step 6) Now you can eat! If desired, thin risotto with some of remaining broth. Scoop some of this business in a bowl and top with grated parmesan. You won't regret it.  

Shopping List
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices, leaving tips 1 1/2 inches long
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
3 artichoke hearts from a can (go ahead judge me)
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

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