I love it when I walk into the fruit and veggie shop and find some lush, green asparagus, bundled together on the shelf two bunches for $4 instead of $2.98 each! There’s nothing better than grabbing a bargain with something you love to eat.
Some interesting facts about Australian asparagus that I found out and thought I’d share with you. The asparagus season runs from September to March – how good is that! If you like asparagus, you’re excited just like me right!? Majority of the Australian asparagus you see and buy is grown in Victoria. Did you also know that there’s a purple asparagus! Have you tried it? What did you think? I haven’t tried the white (which I’ve heard is expensive) either so both are on my list to try this year, if I ever see them.
Asparagus not only tastes good, sautéed in a pan with butter but it’s full of B vitamins, folate, Vitamin C, potassium and sodium, iron and antioxidants which means it’s so good for you! Asparagus can be eaten raw in salads, thrown on the BBQ, steamed or even baked. Click on Australian asparagus for more information and recipes. How do you enjoy your asparagus?
TIP 1: Asparagus shouldn’t be cooked for long. It’s perfect when it’s still got some crunch to it. I personally think by overcooking asparagus, it not only loses all its benefits, it reminds me of canned asparagus that your nan used to serve you with sliced cold meats – yukk! L
With these ingredients, I could have easily made a risotto with rice but I had always wanted to try risoni – a rice shaped pasta – and I felt this was the most opportune time to try it. Some of you may know risoni as orzo, and it can be found in the pasta isle of your supermarket. I also figured that seeing as there’s plenty of risotto recipes out there, I wanted to show you something different. You can always use rice if you prefer but I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure of the cooking times for using rice.
When I created this dish, amazingly, I found some delicious looking dishes, either using asparagus or risoni (orzo). You may be able to use all of these recipes together for another inspirational dish. Thank you to:
Helen @Scrummylane for her beautiful lemony asparagus, prosciutto and ricotta farfalle (above)
Celeste @Sugar and Spice for her delicious creamy orzo with asparagus and parmesan (above)
Lindsey @Cafe Johnsonia for this yummy concoction of vegan asparagus risotto (above)
And Serena @Domesticate Me for a wonderful quinoa risotto (above)
TIP 2: Feel free to substitute asparagus for any other green vegetable you or your family likes. But if you haven’t tried asparagus, please try it.
TIP 3: Don’t have any gorgonzola? Feel free to use any other blue cheese you may have in your fridge. Not a fan of blue cheese? Give it a try, in this dish, you wouldn’t even know it was blue cheese unless I told you or you saw me cooking it! Kids don’t like it? Tasty or parmesan cheese or whatever’s available is perfect.
TIP 4: To make this vegan, use vegetable stock, water and/or wine in replacement of the milk and stock. Remove the cheese and replace it with tofu or leave it out completely. Use olive oil or a nut butter to replace the butter.
PREP: 6 minutes COOK: 15 minutes + 10 minutes standing
MAKES: enough for 4 MAIN / 6-8 ENTREE
1 cup (250mls) milk
1 cup (250mls) chicken stock
1 garlic clove, minced/grated
1 cup (200 grams) risoni pasta
25 grams Gorgonzola
2 bunches fresh asparagus, sliced on the diagonal into bite-size pieces, saving the spear heads for serving (see photo below)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon butter
Asparagus spear heads
25 grams Gorgonzola
On high heat, combine the milk, stock, garlic and risoni, in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil.
Once boiled, turn heat to low & simmer for 13-15 minutes, until the sauce coats the back of the spoon and the risoni is al dente, with some bite. Wipe your finger along the back of the spoon and if the sauce stays divided, the sauce is the perfect thickness. The risoni will continue to cook while standing. (See picture above of how to test the sauce is thick enough.)
Turn heat off and stir through the Gorgonzola, asparagus stems and butter. Stand, covered for 10 minutes.
In a separate frypan, add the butter and asparagus spear heads, gently stirring for 1 minute.
Serve in a bowl, topped with spearheads on each bowl and Gorgonzola.
Fabulous Foodie Fridays #33 happens every weekend @Bake Play Smile, from Friday, to share all your recipes. A big thank you to Lucy who hosts such amazing food inspiration.