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Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

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Cut off the bottom couple of inches of the asparagus spears. Slice the bottoms and add them to a large saucepan along with the celery and carrot, coarsely chopped. Shell the shrimp and add the shells to the saucepan. Cover with the chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook at least 30 minutes to make a mild stock.

Cut away the very tips of the asparagus and place them in a bowl. Chop the shrimp into 0.5" pieces and add them to the bowl and put it in the fridge. Slice the remaining parts of the asparagus in half-inch rounds. Mince the chives and parsley.

Melt 3 Tbsp. of butter in a skillet. Cook the asparagus rounds and the shallots in the butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice kernels are opaque, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it evaporates. Ladle about 1.5 cups of the simmering stock through a strainer into the rice and cook, stirring, until it evaporates. When the bottom of the pan is almost dry, add an additional 0.5 cup and repeat.

Keep cooking this way, adding more stock as needed, until the rice begins to swell and become tender. Stir in 1.5 tsp. of salt and the reserved chopped shrimp and asparagus tips, and continue cooking until the rice kernels are swollen and completely tender. Do not cook the mixture dry; the final texture should be somewhat soupy with slightly thickened liquid. This will take about 20 minutes in all.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter, the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and the herbs. Stir these into the risotto. The liquid will thicken even more. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Spoon into hot shallow bowls and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.