Asparagus Risotto with Gorgonzola

Asparagus Risotto with Gorgonzola
Recently I was the happy recipient of some beautiful bundles of thick and thin asparagus from my friends at Gourmet Trading Company. Elegant asparagus’ peak season is Springtime. If you are in the depths of a really cold winter, maybe this post can lift your spirits? Spring is (almost) around the corner. Gourmet Trading Company imports and distributes top-quality fresh asparagus from the areas where it grows naturally in the Americas. This month asparagus is flourishing on their farms in Peru.

Trim thin stalks of asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces and steam in salted boiling water until tender. Shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking.

Osso Buco, Saffron Risotto, Peas & Snow Pea Shoots

Veal Osso Buco
Saffron Risotto
Peas & Snow Pea Shoots

When my dear friend of many years, Father Adam, comes to town we like to cook! Nothing we make ever takes less than three hours. It’s always an adventure. Last time we made Mario Batali’s Osso Buco with Toasted Pine Nut Gremolata. I had purchased several fresh veal shanks then, and put the extras in the freezer. It was time to defrost them and give Suzanne Goin’s recipe a try!
Osso Buco

Veal shanks were rubbed with garlic, lemon zest, thyme and rosemary then refrigerated over night. The next day they were brought to room temperature, seasoned and browned on all sides in olive oil.
The browned shanks are removed from the pan. Diced onion, carrot, celery, sage and garlic are added to the same pan, and cooked over medium heat until just starting to caramelize. Add 1/2 c. chopped canned tomatoes then 1 c. dry vermouth. Raise the heat and reduce by half.

Add shanks back to the pan with enough hot veal stock to almost cover the meat. Add parsley sprigs, cover, braise at 325° for about 3 hours.

Father Adam and I put the Le Creuset into the oven and went for a walk at Royal Palms State Beach.

Three hours later!
The meat was removed to a baking sheet. The sauce was strained, then we used a gravy separator to remove the fat. We reheated the sauce in a clean saucepan and adjusted the seasoning. It was so flavorful!
Saffron Risotto

Saffron threads were toasted in a small pan, then ground in a mortar. We mixed the saffron with olive oil and added diced white onion, thyme, crushed chile de arbol, salt and pepper. Cooked until the onion was soft.

Add arborio rice and stir to coat the grains.

Add 1/4 c. dry white wine, then when that has evaporated, add hot chicken stock gradually while stirring until the rice has absorbed the stock. When the rice is al dente, season with salt and pepper.

The shanks were removed to a baking sheet and broiled for a few minutes to get a nice brown crust.


Peas & Snow Pea Shoots

Frozen peas were defrosted and cooked in olive oil with minced shallot, thyme, salt and pepper. Add the pea shoots and heat until the leaves are softened and tender.
Beautiful Colors!

Dau Miu (snow pea shoots) are young pea shoots that are delicate and crispy with a flavor that’s a cross between peas and spinach with a hint of watercress.

Falling Off the Bone!

This terrific recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin. You can find Chef Goin’s exact recipe here.
And be sure to check out Father Adam’s unique blog, Monastery Daily Photo: Views From and Within A Roman Catholic Monastery in Northern California.

Shrimp with Risotto and Corn – Fast!

When there are presents to wrap and cookies to bake it’s nice to have a meal that takes only a few minutes of active cooking time and the ingredients are already on hand in the pantry and the freezer.

Box. Bag. Can.
Box of Cheese Risotto – just add water, white wine, a tablespoon of butter
Bag of Frozen Shrimp – cleaned, uncooked, tail-on
Can of Corn – drained

Add water, wine, butter, and risotto mix to pot.
Bring to boil, lower heat, stir occasionally.

When the rice is almost cooked, pour in lots of frozen shrimp, right from the bag.

When the shrimp are pink and the risotto is al dente add corn and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions.

“The feast of the seven fishes is a tradition that Italians follow every Christmas Eve. La Vigilia or the vigil is kept with the custom of dining on 7 fish dishes as we await the birth of the savior at midnight,” writes Maryann. She and Joe are hosting this fabulous Seven Fishes Feast event. I thought they might enjoy a quick yet very tasty dish to add to their bountiful buffet, so I am sending this shrimp over their way, along with wishes for a dazzling Christmas!

Images
A funny thing happens when one totes the camera around, ready to take a photograph of the next tasty morsel…the eye starts to notice other than food-related photo opportunities, a serendipity of a food blog indeed! I am grateful for the chance to capture some images of my surroundings and to be able to share a glimpse of the beauty of Southern California with you.

Sunset over the Port of Long Beach

at Bluff Park, Ocean Blvd. Long Beach, California

Shiitake Mushroom Risotto with Shrimp

I’m making no apologies for this dish. It comes from a box.
Cooking time approximately 20 minutes.
Active cooking time approximately 60 seconds!

Take raw peeled deveined shrimp from the freezer and run under cold water.
Active time 15 seconds.

Meanwhile add the contents of a box of shiitake mushroom risotto to a pot along with water and cook according to package directions (I substituted one cup of beef broth for a portion of the water), a generous tablespoon of butter, and a splash of tamari.
The beef broth and the tamari enhance the umami flavors.
Active time 30 seconds.
Stir occasionally, 10 seconds (5 seconds X 2).

Add shrimp to the pot about 5 minutes before the risotto is done.
Active time 5 seconds.


Gourmet, no.
Tasty, yes.

If I had some snipped chives, I might have added those…hmmm, and maybe a drizzle of truffle oil, 10 more seconds 🙂


This is Safeway brand risotto. Flavored with onion, garlic, herbs, and spices.

From the box side panel, “With Safeway Select you’ll feel like a culinary genius.”
Haha.

Your Culinary Genius, signing off…