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Shauna’s Go-To Risotto: Bread & Wine {Guest Post}

April 29, 2013

Asparagus Risotto by Shauna Niequist

This week I’m thrilled to offer another Guest Post by my buddy Danielle, who was the one to introduce me to Shauna Niequist’s books in the first place. We’ve been eagerly awaiting Bread & Wine to arrive, and when I was able to share my preview copy with Danielle, she offered to write me a guest post in return.

Side Note: Apparently, my heckling has had an impact and Danielle has a newly-hatched blog of her own. Stop by often…


Learn, little by little, meal by meal, to feed yourself and the people you love, because food is one of the ways we love each other, and the table is one of the most sacred places we gather.

-Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine

I believe food is a love language, so if you and I are friends, and you send me a recipe that we both agree looks amazing, chances are I’ll give it a shot. Unless it’s a recipe for risotto. Risotto has always been intimidating. Why? Probably because of all those intense cooking shows where the chefs have 30 minutes to make something fabulous and inevitably, someone attempts risotto. At that moment, the celebrity judges wrinkle their foreheads and make ominous sounds, as in, “Oooh, wow, she’s taking a huge risk in making risotto. This could really bomb.” But after reading Shauna Niequist’s latest book, Bread & Wine, in which she talks about her “go-to risotto” recipe in such simple and magical terms, I knew my time had come to tackle this dish once and for all.

It was the witching hour, you know, that time when you’re trying to get dinner ready and the kids are so hungry they don’t remember that they have many, MANY balls to play with, and so they fight over the same one. So, I marched them into the kitchen, successfully distracted them, and got myself a couple of pint-sized sous chefs in the process.

My older one got busy scooping up the chopped onion into a measuring cup. I forgot to warn him about how onions make your eyes water. “It’s science!” I tell him.

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My younger one counted asparagus. And not because we really needed an exact count.

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I warmed the chicken broth in a medium pot, and sautéed the onions over a generous drizzle of olive oil in larger pot. Next, I used a garlic press to add around 4 cloves of garlic to the sizzling onions. Once the onions were glossy and brown, I added 2 cups of arborio rice and stirred it over medium low heat. I suppose toasting the rice helps bring out a nutty flavor. Everything smells wonderfully aromatic at this point.

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Now for the liquid. I poured a cup of Sauvignon Blanc into the pot, and maybe less than that into my glass.  After stirring everything until the wine has been absorbed into the risotto, I added the warmed chicken broth, a cup at a time until it was absorbed and steamy. An important part of making risotto, I learned, is to stir, stir, stir. This keeps things from drying out and allows the rice to soak up all the liquid you add, making it creamy and delicious.  And creamy and delicious it is! A couple of minutes after I added the last cup of broth,

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I also added some chopped asparagus (because that’s what I had in my fridge), lemon zest salt and pepper, and maybe 1/2 cup of finely shredded Parmesan cheese. I had always thought risotto involved WAY more cheese than this since it’s so creamy with delicate cheesy strings when you scoop it. I suppose if you wanted, you could add more, but I found that basically a handful of Parmesan was perfect, with a little more added to each plate at serving time.

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All I have to say is, YUM. Everyone loved it; even our 11 month old couldn’t get enough. Adelle and I had it the next day for lunch, (ignoring my kids’ mess in the living room), revived with a little more chicken broth, and served alongside of Shauna’s Watermelon Feta salad with arugula and mint fresh from the backyard.


I’ll definitely make risotto again, before the hot summer months arrive, and when the cool of fall makes its debut. I’m so glad I took Shauna’s advice:

If you feel paralyzed in the kitchen because you don’t know the rules or can’t make a plan or fear making a mess, I hope you throw caution to the wind anyway and try a few new things. If you long to entertain but don’t feel Martha Stewart-y enough for all that, I hope you dive in and give it a shot anyway, imperfect and nerve-racking as it may be the first few times.

And begin with risotto.

-Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine

 PicMonkey Collage

About Danielle:

Danielle Humphreys, boy-mom of two and now girl-mom of one (much to her delight), lives a vibrant life embracing creativity in all its manifestations. A true foodie (half Japanese and half Italian – como no?) she is always happy to dish about cuisine, and loves to make food come alive out of her own backyard. Chicken farmer, vegetable grower, organic gardener, artist, advocate, erudite blue-stocking and, most importantly, birthday buddy. June 11 is a VERY good day.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Bethany permalink
    April 29, 2013 7:48 pm

    I love this! Thanks for posting, Danielle, and thanks Adelle for hosting. I am totally intimidated to try the risotto but you may have encouraged me to take a chance. I love the photos too! Also, your zester looks so much better than mine, I need it! Is it Pampered Chef? 🙂

  2. April 29, 2013 8:38 pm

    Yum! I’ve never tried making risotto either. You’ve inspired me to try!

  3. April 30, 2013 7:01 pm

    Reblogged this on danielle humphreys.

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