Asparagus Butter Risotto with Shrimp

Once upon a time there was a young boy, known as Mr. Man-Pants, who maintained a typical child's view toward vegetables.
His reason for avoiding most green foods? He feared he would "catch normal."

Well, I fainted dead away when, after years of trials and tribulations to get the boy to eat right, I noticed him happily packing away this, unquestionably emerald-green risotto, into his cheek pouches, without so much as a hissy fit, whining or crying — from me.

Finally! We have emerged victoriously from his Frankenfood phase, and wanted to share this highly momentous occasion (and the recipe) with you.

I've been making this dish for quite a few years, so I've had the opportunity to play with it a bit. For example, I've substituted spinach, and sometimes mint for the basil, with good results.
But let it be known, basil still trumps all other variations.

Asparagus Butter Risotto with Shrimp

4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
¾ pound asparagus, stems peeled, chopped and blanched, tips set aside
½ cup chopped basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
4 cups Chicken Broth
16 large shrimp, cleaned, deveined, and roughly chopped *
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Basil or Rosemary sprigs, for garnish, optional

To make the asparagus butter: Place 3 tablespoons butter, the warm asparagus stems and the basil in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and purée.

To make the risotto: Place a large, non-reactive stainless steel, nonstick or copper lined saucepan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add remaining tablespoon butter. Add the garlic and leek and cook until soft, about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the rice until well coated.

Add the wine and cook until absorbed. Add 2 cups Chicken Broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring with each addition, until all liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups Chicken Broth, cook until the liquid is absorbed.

Add the asparagus tips, the asparagus butter, Parmesan cheese, shrimp, salt and pepper, stirring after each addition. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the shrimp turns pink and is just cooked through. Serves 4. Adapted from: The Figs Table by Todd English.

*Sometimes, I slow roast the shrimp whole, skewered with Rosemary sprigs, but this is, somewhat, for aesthetics.

Btw, the asparagus butter is also delicious over pasta, or polenta. Enjoy.

Before I sign out, let me introduce you to some of my tenants. Coo.

Judging by mama dove's expression, it was made perfectly clear that she would've pecked my head hollow, had I come any closer to her baby. So I respected her space, knowing the photo wouldn't be very clear.

Say Blogger, when will we be getting a HUG button?

I'll be joining:

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