For the longest time, nothing! I've mentioned before my dislike of cooking for one and since M has been away in Paris on a project, there have been virtually no home-cooked dinners in this household for a long time. Tonight, I decided to break out of this rut and stopped by Whole Foods, which I absolutely adore, to pick up some fresh, albeit over-priced, groceries.
In the spirit of carbo-loading in advance of our long run tomorrow, I decided to go with Chicken, asparagus and shiitake mushroom risotto. Now, risotto, in my mind, gets a bad rep for being time-consuming to make. While it is true that you do have to constantly stir the pot, you really only need to do so for half an hour or so. This may be 30 minutes more than one can spare on a weekday, but for a Friday night, its easy as pie. And when the rewards are as sumptuous and creamy as this is, that's 30 minutes well spent.
Chicken, asparagus and shiitake mushroom risotto
Adapted from Gourmet
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 lb thin to medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3/4 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Bring broth and water to a boil in a 4-quart pot. Add asparagus and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer asparagus with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain and pat dry. Keep broth at a bare simmer, covered.
Poach chicken breasts in broth until done, about 7-8 minutes. Remove chicken from the broth and set aside to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into 1/4 inch slices.
Heat oil with 1 tsp butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then saute mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl.
Cook onion in 2 tbsp butter in saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Ladle in 1 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is just tender and looks creamy, 18 to 20 minutes. Save any leftover broth for thinning.
Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese, remaining tbsp butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir in asparagus and mushrooms, then cover pan and let stand 1 minute. If desired, thin risotto with some of remaining broth. Serve immediately with remaining cheese on the side.
Makes 4 main-course servings