Baked Risotto with Morels and Asparagus

 

I saw somebody cook polenta this way once. I got to thinking one of the reasons I don't like cooking risotto is I like to serve it as a starter. Twenty minutes of stirring pretty much commits you to that dish and I would rather be having a glass of wine with my guests while attending the entree. In steps the nonstick skillet. Although I don't like them they do have their place. I also have a baking stone that never leaves the oven and I set the pan on the stone. So you may need to add a minute or two to the cooking time if you don't have a stone. I actually think I like this method best of all I have tried, the risotto is creamy and juicy and ready to soak up the cream and cheese. Ideal risotto to me has a thickened sauce that just creeps from the edge of the rice and rice that will just start flatten out on the plate not just stay in a mound. I blanched a couple of stalks of asparagus for the garnish and pulled aside some whole cooked morels for the same purpose.

What you will need

2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon

1 1/4 cups carnirola rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 cups chicken stock, hot

1 1/2 cups morels, rinsed of grit and dried, rough chop

1/2 pound thin asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced

1/3 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup manchego cheese, grated

Kosher salt and fresh ground white pepper

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