Well, my instincts were right because the arborio rice was the perfect base for this flavor combination & oh, what a combination. The sweet rice wine, ginger, lemongrass & coconut milk gave it a subtly sweet flavor, though it is not at all overly sweet like a dessert. The coconut milk along with the rice makes if very creamy & comforting. The crunch of the toasted almonds adds a nice additional texture.
Cooking note: I used very thin asparagus. If you use fatter asparagus add it earlier in the cooking process reserving the tips. Add the tips with the last cup of broth.
Lemongrass & Asparagus Risotto
2 T slivered almonds
6 3-4 inch pieces of lemongrass
3 c chicken broth plus more if needed
1 T salted butter
1 T olive oil
1/4 c onion, finely chopped
1/2 t peeled, minced ginger
3/4 c arborio rice
1/4 sweet cooking rice wine
1 c thin asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
pinch dried basil
1/4 c coconut milk
Toast the almonds over low heat until golden brown. Set aside.
Chop the lemongrass in a food processor until very fine & set aside.
Bring the chicken broth to a simmer & keep it simmering throughout cooking.
Put the butter & olive oil in a medium saucepan & heat over medium-high until the butter is melted. Add the onion, ginger & lemongrass. Cook until the onion softens & begins to turn translucent. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in the rice & cook while stirring for for about 1 minute, coating the rice with the oil & butter. Stir in the rice wine. Cook while stirring until the wine is completely absorbed. Add the broth 1/4 cup a a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is absorbed before adding the next.
When about 1 cup of broth remains add in the asparagus & dried basil. Continue to cook, adding broth as before. When the broth is gone the rice should be al dente with a creamy sauce. If it is still a little hard add more chicken broth 1/4 cup at a time. When the rice is done stir in the coconut milk.
Serve topped with the toasted almonds.
1 large main course or 2 small servings
Thanks to the Leftover Queen for hosting another fun challenge.
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