Spring Asparagus & Mushroom Risotto

Spring is in the air… and on the shelves at the Calgary Farmers’ Market! May is the month for greens, fiddleheads, peppers, rhubarb, zucchini, greenhouse crops… and of course – asparagus!

We thought we would highlight this spring favourite in a simple risotto dish. You can always leave the mushrooms out if they’re not your favourite, or substitute another seasonal veggie in their place.

Risotto1Market Sourced Ingredients:

3 tbsp good olive oil from Soffritto

1 cup arborio rice from La Cucina

4 small shallots, diced from Cherry Pit

1 clove garlic, minced from Cherry Pit

10 oz mushrooms, sliced (whatever kind you like!) from Blush Lane

1/2 lb asparagus spears, cut into 2 inch pieces from Innisfail Growers

Freshly grated parmesan from Fresh DELIcious

1 tsp lemon zest from Blush Lane

Other Ingredients:

1 ½ tbsp butter

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

½ cup white wine

handful chopped chives

Salt & pepper to taste


This recipe requires a little bit of separate prep for the main ingredients, but then it all comes together in one pot for the grand finale!

Risotto2First, you’ll need to heat the stock up in a small pot. Once hot, turn the heat off and set the stock aside until needed. I used a nice homemade chicken stock from my freezer, but you can always pick up delicious stock from the Stock and Sauce Co. at the market!

While the stock is warming, heat a pan with half the olive oil and sauté the mushrooms. Get the mushrooms nice and brown and delicious, and then remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat the remainder of the olive oil in a large pot, add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the rice and allow to toast slightly. Now you can add your minced garlic and cook for 1 minutes. At this point, add the wine and give everything a good stir until the liquid is almost entirely evaporated.

The key to a good risotto is to add liquid gradually, and keep cooking it down before you add more. So start with about 1 cup of hot stock, add it to the mixture, reduce the heat and stir. Continue to stir every couple of minutes while it reduces. Add more stock as needed, about a cup at a time. The rice will absorb all the delicious stock as you go and develop that signature creamy texture that risotto is known for.

While you’re waiting and stirring, chop the asparagus into bite sized pieces, grate the parmesan, and zest the lemon. Set everything aside until needed.

Risotto4When you’ve added all the stock, and there is still some liquid in the pot, add the asparagus pieces so they have time to cook. Once the asparagus and the rice are cooked to your liking (add a bit of water if you run out of stock), add the cooked mushrooms, chives, lemon zest, butter and parmesan and fold in to the mixture. All that’s left to do now is to season the risotto with salt and pepper as required.

This asparagus mushroom risotto could be served as a side dish, but it’s perfect on its own as well. The asparagus season is short, so get your fill while you still can at the Calgary Farmers’ Market!

Cook Like a Top Chef

Ever wondered if you had what it takes to cook like a Top Chef?  Well, we’re here to help.  Top Chef Canada Contestant Nicole Gomes will be demonstrating how to make a Truffled Mushroom Risotto at the market!  Join us this Saturday, April 6th at 12 noon to learn how to make it yourself and enjoy a sample of her delicious dish.  Find the recipe below with all sorts of delicious ingredients that can be found at the market.

Truffled Mushroom Risotto

Serves 4 – 6

For the mushrooms:

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil from Fresh DELIcious

4 cloves garlic, 3 of them chopped from Souto Farms

Pinch dried chili flakes from The Silk Road Spice Merchant

1 pound assorted mushrooms (shitake, portobello, chantrelles, etc), cleaned and sliced from Souto Farms &   Cherry Pit


For the risotto:

2 tbsp butter, unsalted from Sylvan Star Cheese

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil from Fresh DELIcious

1 ½ cups carnaroli or arborio rice La Cucina

1 small onion, finely diced from Souto Farms

¼ cup dry white wine

8 cups chicken stock, heated until hot and on low heat from The Stock and Sauce Co

¾ cup parmesan, freshly grated from Fresh DELIcious

2 tbsp porcini powder (dried porcinis, ground to a dust in a coffee grinder) from Cherry Pit

3 tbsp  butter from Sylvan Star Cheese

1 tbsp truffle paste or ½ teaspoon of good quality white truffle oil from Fresh DELIcious

¼ cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley or chives from Cherry Pit


Chef Nicole Risotto

To prepare mushrooms:

Heat a large fry pan on high heat, add olive oil being careful not to allow oil to smoke.  Add mushrooms, sauté for 2- 4 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Turn down heat to medium high.  Add chilli flakes and garlic, sauté for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Lightly season with salt and taste for seasoning.  Set aside.

To make risotto:

In a 10 – 12” sauté pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Once butter is melted add onions and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, 8 – 10 minutes.  Add the rice and stir until opaque, you should notice the rice grains are translucent on the outside with a speck of white on the inside, 3 – 4 minutes.  Lightly season with salt, just a sprinkle.

Add the wine and stir until evaporated.  One cup at a time add stock and cook, stirring until all the liquid is absorbed.  Repeat this process one cup at a time, until rice is still slightly hard about 14 minutes (you may have stock left over).  Add mushrooms and porcini powder, stir in1cup of stock at a time until the rice is “al dente” (not mushy, not undercooked, but still has bite), about 5 minutes. Stir in parmesan and butter.   Adjust seasoning with salt and finish with truffle oil or truffle paste to taste. Finish with a Rice should be creamy and slightly moister than the consistency of porridge.  Drizzle over sauce, serve immediately.

Truffled Mushroom Risotto

If that doesn’t fix your Top Chef craving then join Nicole and all her supporters for a VIP viewing of Episode 4 of Top Chef Canada in support of the Canadian Cancer Society. Food and drink will be provided.

Monday, April 8th 2013
6pm-8:30 pm
Tickets are $25
Willow Park Wine and Spirits
To buy tickets call 403.296.1640 ext 277
Or buy online with Eventbrite.ca

Follow Chef Nicole on Twitter