Asparagus Risotto


1 pound asparagus, washed, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch diagonal pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons Virgin Olive Oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup diced prosciutto
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups hot vegetable or chicken broth
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Toss the asparagus with the olive oil; place the pieces in a baking dish and bake them until a knife is easily inserted, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Season the asparagus with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 3-quart saucepan; stir in the onion and prosciutto and cook until the onion is transparent.  Add the rice and mix it with the butter to coat the grains; cook until the rice looks toasted and begins to make a crackling sound.  Stir in the wine and allow it to evaporate.
Start adding the broth, a little at a time, stirring constantly.  When the liquid is absorbed, add a little more of the broth and continue until all the broth has been added.  Stir in the remaining butter and cheese.
Pour the completed mixture out onto a buttered marble board or bake sheet and smooth it to a depth of 1/2-inch.  Try to form the risotto into a 6 by 9-inch square so that the serving portions will be fairly symmetrical.  Lightly score the top of the rice into 3 to 4-inch squares.  Allow the mixture to set up for 5 to 10 minutes.
Cut the risotto into squares, reheat and place on a serving dish.  Top with some of the asparagus.
If you’ve made the risotto ahead of time, you may also reheat it by frying the squares until they are lightly browned on each side.

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