Put this lovely risotto on the menu in spring, when asparagus and peas are in the market. Always select a good-quality broth for risotto. Because it is added to the rice in small amounts throughout the cooking process, its flavor infuses the kernels. From The Dutch Oven Cookbook.
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed, spears cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, warmed
¼ cup crème fraîche
½ cup fresh shelled or frozen peas
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Toasted pine nuts, for garnish (optional)
Fill a 5-qt dutch oven with salted water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and cook until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Dry the pot.
Place the pot over medium heat and warm the oil. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed. Add 2 cups of the broth and cook, stirring constantly, until it is almost completely absorbed, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue adding broth ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until it is almost completely absorbed before adding more.
When the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy, after about 30 minutes, stir in half of the crème fraîche until blended. Stir in the peas, asparagus, Parmesan, and mint, and season with salt and pepper. Add more broth if needed to reach the desired consistency.
Divide the risotto among shallow bowls and top with the remaining crème fraîche and pine nuts (if using). Serve right away.