1 lb. asparagus
5 c. chicken or vegetable broth
3 Tbsp. butter
½ c. shallot, minced
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1 c. Arborio rice
1 Tbsp. dry white wine
2 Tbsp. cream
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
¼ c. parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
4 mint leaves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Prep the asparagus by cutting or snapping off the woody end of each piece, but do not discard. Cut the scrap ends in half lengthwise and put in a pot with the broth and bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Strain the broth into a new pot and keep warm over low heat.
2. Cut the tips off the asparagus stalks and set aside. Roughly chop the remaining asparagus stalks and cook in salted simmering water for 4 minutes until tender. Put the cooked stalks in a food processer or blender and blend until it becomes a smooth puree. You may need to add a little vegetable oil to aid the process. Set aside.
3. Heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat, then add the shallot, garlic, asparagus tips, a little salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice and stir to coat the rice in the butter. Add the white wine and lemon juice and stir 1 minute.
4. Start adding the broth 1 ladle full at a time, stirring every so often until it is absorbed before adding another ladle full of broth. Continue this process until all of the broth is used up. It should take about 20 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently to assure a creamy texture.
5. Before serving, add the lemon zest, mint, cream, asparagus puree, and parm cheese and stir until it is smooth saving a little cheese and mint for garnish. Serve immediately while warm. Garnish with extra parm cheese and a little chopped mint .