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      RECIPE TITLE "Quick Risotto Reggiano with Asparagus"
    recipe from Secrets From A Caterer's Kitchen copyright © 2001 by Nicole Aloni. All rights reserved.

    yieldsMakes 8 servingstime ---difficultyeasy

    This wonderfully easy, luscious risotto was inspired by the risotto technique in Barbara Kafka's Microwave Gourmet . The already simple preparation (for risotto) can be made even more party-friendly by completing all but the last step before guests arrive. This recipe is the only practical way to include risotto in a party menu.


    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1/3 cup minced shallots
    1-1/4 cups arborio rice
    3 cups chicken broth
    2 tablespoons chopped dried mushroom (porcini, morel, or shiitake)
    1/3 cup dry vermouth
    1/2 pound thin asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
    1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
    1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    2 tablespoons minced chives
    Kosher salt
    Freshly ground coarse black pepper


    Heat the butter and the oil in a microwave-safe, 3-quart casserole dish, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Add the shallots and cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Cook for 2-1/2 minutes.

    Add the broth, dried mushroom, and vermouth and cook uncovered for 11 minutes. Stir well and cook 6 minutes more. Mix in the asparagus and thyme and cook for 5 minutes.

    Remove from the microwave and let stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese and chives, add salt and pepper as desired, and serve immediately.

    To make ahead for a party, prepare through cooking with the broth and set aside. When you are ready to serve diner, add the asparagus and thyme and finish preparation from there. Serve immediately.

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