Hearty alpine cuisine is a great reward after hiking uphill to admire the Wildflowers in the Dolomites, where you’ll find a great variety of risotto dishes that will keep your taste buds happy through both of our Dolomites tours.
For the Vegetable Broth
- 2 qts. water
- 1 medium onion
- 1 large stalk of celery, cut into big chunks
- 1 carrot, cut into chunks
- 2 sprigs of fresh parsley
- 1 small tomato
- 1 small peeled potato
- 1 tsp salt
For the Risotto
- ½ lb wild or cultivated asparagus (weight after all tough ends are discarded)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 oz. butter
- 2 ½ cups rice – arborio or vialone nano (not instant!)
- Freshly grated parmigiano
To make the vegetable broth, put all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 1 hour. Strain through a sieve and keep the broth in a flame-proof pot.
Cut off the tough ends of the asparagus and discard. Wash the asparagus and cut off the tips at a 2-inch length, separating the tips from the “stems.” Cut the “stems” into 2-inch pieces.
Heat the oil and butter in a low-sided pot over a medium flame, and sauté the onion for a couple of minutes. Add the asparagus “stems” and sauté for another 2 minutes. When onion is transparent, add the raw rice. Mix and sauté the rice until it is well coated with the oil-butter mixture and is opaque white in color.
Make sure your broth is simmering hot (if the broth is cold, the temperature of the rice will drop and it will not cook properly). Add a couple ladles of broth to the rice mixture and stir, cooking over a medium flame. Watch the pot carefully, stirring frequently until the liquid is almost absorbed. Continue to add more hot broth, repeatedly stirring in the same fashion for about 15-18 minutes. (Check the cooking time on your package of rice.) When the rice is almost done, add the asparagus tips, and cook for 5 minutes. Shut off the flame, cover the pot and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
If you like, you can now mix in some grated parmigiano, which will give the risotto a creamier texture. Pass additional parmigiano and top with freshly ground black pepper. Serves 4.
Drink a Vertigo red wine from the Veneto and you will soon be soaring to the dizzying heights of the majestic Dolomites High Routes. Buon appetite!