3 Tbsp. butter
¼ cup sliced shallots
1½ cups Arborio rice
1 cup sliced button mushrooms (substitute shiitake, oyster, crimini, or chanterelle if desired)
¼ cup chopped roasted garlic
½ cup dry white wine
6 cups hot vegetable or chicken stock
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 cups young asparagus, tips reserved and stalks sliced diagonally about 1/4 inch long
⅓ cup chopped fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Drops of fresh lemon juice, to taste
Garnish: Additional Parmesan shaved and deep fried basil sprigs, if desired
Melt butter in a deep, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add shallots and cook over moderate heat until soft, not brown. Add rice and mushrooms and cook, stirring often until rice is translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add garlic, wine and enough stock to cover rice mixture and cook stirring constantly until liquid is nearly absorbed. Continue adding hot stock in this manner stirring all the time and letting the rice absorb the stock before adding more. Begin testing rice after about 12 minutes. The rice needs to be creamy while the center of each grain still has some texture. This will take 16 – 18 minutes total; stir in the asparagus ¾ of the way through. Then stir in the zest, chives and cheese and season to your taste with salt, pepper and drops of lemon juice. Serve in warm bowls garnished with shaved Parmesan and fried basil.