Crabmeat and asparagus is a match made in heaven. This recipe is also fantastic, however, without any crab at all. Leave it out and serve the risotto as a side dish or as a first course at a springtime dinner party.
1 quart canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock, more if needed
1 1/2 cups water, more if needed
1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off and discarded, spears cut into 1/2-inch lengths, tips left whole
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound crabmeat, picked free of shell
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (from 1/2 orange)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
How to Make It
Bring the broth and water to a simmer in a medium pot. Cook the asparagus in the broth until just done, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Put in a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain. Keep the broth at a simmer.
In a large pot, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until it begins to turn opaque, about 2 minutes.
Add the vermouth and salt. Cook, stirring, until the vermouth is absorbed. Add about 1/2 cup of the simmering broth; cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed. The rice and broth should bubble gently; adjust the heat as needed. Continue cooking, adding broth 1/2 cup at a time and letting the rice absorb it before adding more. Cook the rice in this way until tender, 25 to 30 minutes in all. The broth that isn't absorbed should be thickened by the starch from the rice. You may not need all of the liquid, or you may need more broth or water.
Stir in the asparagus, crab, orange zest, garlic, parsley, pepper, and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Cook until heated through.
Wine Recommendation: Asparagus is hard to pair with wine; it combines with any bitter elements to produce a metallic taste. That means no tannins and definitely no oak. Go for a crisp, unoaked Italian sauvignon blanc from Friuli or Collio.
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