Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Asparagus and Lemon Grass Risotto - Recipes to Rival
August has flown by and the posting date for Recipes to Rival managed to sneak up on me. I wish I could juggle. Baring that, I wish I paid better attention to my calendar. Fortunately, I'm an experienced multitasker and while I can't turn water into wine, I can hide my mistakes and turn lemons into lemonade - sometimes. This months recipe is Asparagus and Lemon Grass Risotto from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romano. It was selected by Debyi of the Healthy Vegan Kitchen. It's not a traditionally prepared risotto. The broth contains no meat and is made, instead, with lemon grass and other Asian flavorings. The finished rice has no added cheese. While a suggestion and recipe for a side dish was provided for us, we were free to use one of our own choosing. I had planned to use a soy glazed salmon, but because the rice was strongly flavored I opted to serve plain grilled chicken instead. I followed the recipe as it was written. The only changes I would make are to reduce the cooking time and the amount of red pepper flakes used. My rice was ready to serve in about 25 minutes rather than the 35 suggested in the recipe. Unless you love heat, I'd also suggest you start with 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes until you've determined what your heat tolerance might actually be. If you are an adventurer or just trying to serve less meat and moving towards a vegetable based diet, I think you'd like this dish.
Asparagus and Lemongrass Risotto
3 cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1 small stalk lemongrass, or 1 tablespoon dried, chopped lemongrass
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
3 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce, or more broth)
1/2 cup cooking sherry or white wine or water
1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 cup basil leaves (Thai, if you can find it), sliced into thin strips
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
6 large shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano red chile, sliced very thinly (or 1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons lime juice
Chopped roasted peanuts and lime wedges, for garnish (you can use pine nuts or sliced almonds instead of the peanuts)
1) If using fresh lemongrass, peel away and discard any brown stems from the stalk. Slice stalk in half lengthwise and cut into 3” to 4” lengths, then julienne.
2) Give garlic and ginger a good whack with a clever or back of a spoon.
3) Place all broth ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain broth, discarding the vegetables and herbs. Pour broth back into pot, cover and simmer over as low a heat as possible to keep warm.
4) Slice asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces, discarding any tough parts from bottom of e stems. Separate tips from stems and place each in separate bowls.
5) In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot, saute asparagus in 1 tablespoon vegetable broth over medium heat until bright and crisp tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add basil and mint, saute for 30 seconds, remove from heat and set aside.
6) Add remaining tablespoon vegetable broth to pan. Saute shallots and garlic, stirring occasionally, until shallots are very soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in serrano and rice, saute for about 8 minutes, until rice smells slightly toasted. Add wine and stir constantly until liquid is absorbed.
7) Now, time for relaxation and stirring. Get a glass of your favorite beverage, turn on some soothing music, or a good movie. Ladle about 1/2 cup of broth at a time into rice, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed. Stir and cook until the rice is creamy but center is still somewhat firm.
8) When broth is almost gone, stir sugar and lime juice into remaining broth before adding it to pot. You may add more water or vegetable broth in 1/4 cup increments if needed. This will take about 35 minutes.
9) Stir asparagus stems into risotto and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until asparagus has reached desired tenderness.
10) Garnish each serving with asparagus tips, chopped roasted peanuts, and lime wedges. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.