Once you learn to cook a basic dish like risotto, you can substitute with what you have on hand. Instead of asparagus, use frozen green beans or the fresh peas your neighbor grew and shared…or the mushrooms you almost forgot in the fridge drawer.
10 asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 3/4-inch pieces, cooked and rinsed in cold water
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup uncooked arborio rice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, (optional)
While preparing asparagus, heat broth to a simmer in a small covered pot and hold there. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring often.Add 1/2 cup simmering broth while stirring constantly, shaking pan forward and back as you do, until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup more broth and repeat the process. Continue repeating until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy and loose, about 20 minutes more. (Reserve any remaining broth for another use.)Remove pot from heat and stir in 1/3 cup cheese, asparagus and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer risotto to bowls and garnish with remaining cheese and chives. Serve immediately.