Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

Do you guys know what is happening on Saturday?  have been counting down the days since November 29th. The Kalamazoo Farmers' Market opens this Saturday.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for the Market to open. When I first move to Kalamazoo, I heard that there was a pretty great farmer’s market. Between the stress of settling into a new city and figuring out our lives, I didn’t get a chance to go. Last summer, however, I transitioned from going when it was convenient to planning my entire weekend around the Market hours.

The Kalamazoo Farmers' Market is the real deal. It is the perfect setting for people to shop, eat, and hang out. Here are the five things I’m most excited to start waking up for on Saturday mornings:

1.     Potatoes from Sunshine Silo

2.     Smoothies from the Smoothie Operator

3.     Mixed greens from Blue Dog Family Farms

4.     Varieties of garlic from Garlic Brothers

5.     The best guacamole (seriously!) from Lupita's 

I hope you are ready for May 2nd. Grab your favorite market bag, stroll down to Bank Street, grab a cup of coffee and peruse the Market and pick up some seasonal produce and local goods. 

One of the more popular items during opening weekend is asparagus. Here’s the 101 on asparagus.

Prime time to buy: spring

What to look for: smooth skin, bright color, compact heads, and freshly cut ends

Varieties: green, white (slightly milder than green and grown without sunlight so no chlorophyll develops), purple

Flavor: bitter/sweet, pungent notes of grass and/or nuts, and a crisp, tender texture

Nutritional value: contains potassium, folacin, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber

Storage: Refrigerator (1-3 days) or freezer (for longer storage)

How to prepare it: Rinse the asparagus, bend the end until it snaps, discard the end, trim into desired size, and prepare as follows to retain its nutritive value:

Roast: Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 to 20 minutes.

Steam: Bring two inches of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan, place asparagus in a steamer basket, place lid on saucepan, simmer for 1 to 5 minutes.

Stir-Fry: allow to stir-fry for 1 to 3 minutes

Saute: cook for 1 to 5 minutes

Grill it: for 1 to 5 minutes

Try this recipe for a healthy and delicious Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto. Risotto is an easy way to incorporate a variety of ingredients. It is great as a side dish or could even pass for a light main course. 

The way the rice is cooked when making risotto gives it a creamy and indulgent texture without adding any actual cream or butter. 

 

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup onion, diced

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

1 cup Arborio rice

¾ cup dry white wine

3-4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

3 cups asparagus, trimmed into 2-inch pieces

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper

¼ cup Parmesan, optional

1.     Heat olive oil in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion, mushroom, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion and mushroom are tender.

2.     Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 to 60 seconds to lightly toast the rice.

3.     Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed, approximately 5 minutes.

4.     Add the broth, ½ cup to 1 cup at a time, stirring each addition frequently until the liquid is absorbed, approximately 5 minutes per addition. Continue adding broth until rice has expanded and is tender.

5.     Off heat, stir in asparagus, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, and Parmesan, if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I’ll be posting during the farmer’s market season with some of my favorite picks of the season and how to incorporate them into your diet. Check out the Kalamazoo Farmers; Market Blog blog, my site, and my Instagram account for updates on what’s happening at the market. Happy shopping!