The Vineyard Kitchen: Menus Inspired by the Seasons
2 pounds asparagus (jumbo, extra large or standard)
1 medium yellow onion
3 to 3 1/2 quarts chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (4 2/3 cups) Carnaroli or Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
1 lemon, juice and grated zest
1 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chervil or Italian parsley
Reggiano Parmesan cheese to shave for garnish
by Maria Helm Sinskey
Chock-full of homey yet sophisticated recipes, the Vineyard
Kitchen presents appealing seasonal menus to celebrate the
best of each harvest. An acclaimed chef, Maria is the
culinary director of her husband’s Robert Sinskey Vineyards
in Napa Valley. Her mantra is “Eat seasonally, drink good
wine and live a long and prosperous life.” Written like a
seasonal cooking diary, you will feel like you have a new
best friend. HarperCollins Publishers: 2003.
Asparagus and Lemon Risotto with Shaved Reggiano
Break off the tough ends of the asparagus by holding the
spear at the base of the tip and the root end and bending
downward. Allow the asparagus to break naturally at the most
tender point. Cut the tips off on the diagonal and slice in
half. Slice the remaining stem on the diagonal 1/4” thick.
Reserve with tips.
Peel, trim and dice the onion finely. Bring the chicken
stock to a boil in a pot large enough to accommodate it.
Reduce and the heat and keep it at a simmer.
Over medium heat, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed
stockpot until it bubbles and starts to turn golden. Add the
onions and sauté them until they are translucent and tender,
about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add the rice
and sauté until it is hot. Add the white wine and simmer,
stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed the wine.
Start to add the simmering chicken stock to the rice one
ladleful at a time. Wait until the rice absorbs the stock
before adding more; keep adding the stock and stirring
constantly for 14 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and zest, then add the asparagus and
cook 4 to 6 minutes more, adding stock as necessary, until
the rice is tender but not mushy or soupy. The rice should
be creamy and silky with the individual grains holding their
shape. Fold in the grated cheese and chervil; season to
taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into bowls and
garnish with shaved Reggiano Parmesan. Serves 8 as a main
course or 12 as an appetizer.