By Nancy Caivano
18 asparagus, cut diagonally in 1" pieces
3 tbsp. butter
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, julienne
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic chopped (or 1 tbsp. jar chopped garlic)
1/2 cup dried tomatoes, soaked in
hot water to cover 30 minutes and julienne
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups simmering chicken stock
2 tbsp. orange juice
1 tbsp. grated orange zest
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 3 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel and cook until very well browned, about 10 minutes. Add asparagus and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and dried tomatoes. Cook until onion is translucent. Add rice, stirring constantly, and cook 5 minutes more, making sure rice does not brown. Add wine, stirring constantly, and let totally evaporate. When wine is evaporated, begin adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, letting each addition evaporate before adding the next addition.
After fourth addition of stock is added, begin tasting rice. Rice should be al dente when done. You need to keep tasting rice, because, depending on rice, you may or may not have to use all of the stock. When fourth addition of stock is absorbed, add fennel, asparagus, orange juice and orange zest.
After last addition of stock is absorbed, remove from heat, and stir in butter, Romano, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
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