1 lb. fresh asparagus
Salt to taste
Approximately 4 cups Chicken or Meat Broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fine-quality olive oil
3 tablespoons finely minced onion
2 cups Arborio (or other Italian short-grained) rice
.25 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Trim the tough ends from the asparagus. Peel off the tough skin from around the bottom of the stalk. Put the cleaned asparagus into a pan that can hold it lying flat. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 4 minutes or until asparagus is just tender but still firm. Drain the asparagus, reserving cooking water. Set asparagus aside to cool.
Cut the cooled asparagus into 1.5 inch pieces, reserving the tips separately. Set aside.
Combine the asparagus cooking water with enough broth to make 6 cups liquid. Place in a medium saucepan over low heat.
Heat butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or until onion is very soft and just beginning to turn golden.
Add the rice and sauté for about 2 minutes or until it is glistening. Stir in the asparagus pieces and immediately begin adding hot broth mixture, .5 cup at a time, stirring constantly, adding additional broth as liquid is absorbed. When rice has absorbed enough liquid to be al dente and of a creamy consistency, remove from heat and stir in the reserved asparagus tips, cheese, and pepper. Taste and, if necessary, add salt. Serve immediately. (Serves 6)