I love that Jeff decided to write "Something Completely Different for this post, and I can't wait to make his Mushroom Asparagus Risotto. Thanks, Jeff!
And Now for Something Completely Different
Okay, yes, I write sick and twisted thrillers. But let’s go to an even scarier side. Let’s talk food.
My latest book from Grand Central Publishing is The Burial Hour, the thirteenth in the Lincoln Rhyme series (which began with The Bone Collector). While most of my novels don’t involve much discussion of food (who has time to eat when you’re chasing psychotic killers and terrorists?), The Burial Hour does. Why? Because it’s set in Italy.
Say no more.
There are several scenes in which food figures prominently in the story. Amelia Sachs and a young Italian policeman make some vital discoveries after lunching in the countryside near Naples. Important clues related to North African food are discovered near a refugee camp. And a tense negotiation ends with a farm-to-table meal, accompanied, as it must be, by a fine Campanian wine (molto forte, or, as Lincoln Rhyme would say with approval: “Damn strong!).
It was a hard job to research these--and other--dishes that I describe in the book but somebody had to do it. And I feel I acquitted myself admirably (and will soon start making daily trips to the health club to eliminate the evidence of my efforts).
So, what’s the scary part?
I thought I might share with you an Italian recipe of my own creation.
Jeffery Deaver’s Mushroom Asparagus Risotto
Serves 6 as a starter, 4 as a main course.
1 medium onion, chopped.
1 pound green asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces (discard the bottom 1 ½ inches from each stalk).
4 Portobello mushroom caps, cut in half, then into thin slices.
2 cups arborio rice.
3/4 cup dry white wine.
6 cups chicken stock.
6 tablespoons butter.
Olive oil for sautéing.
Pinch of nutmeg.
Salt and pepper.
1. Heat the chicken stock in pan to simmer, then reduce heat.
2. In a large skillet, sauté the asparagus in olive oil quickly--one minute. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Add more oil and sauté the onion and mushroom caps until soft.
4. Leaving the onions and mushroom caps in the skillet, add the rice and stir for 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the wine and stir constantly until most of the liquid evaporates.
6. Add the chicken stock one cup at a time, stirring constantly, until it is incorporated into the rice. This will take about 20-30 minutes.
7. When the mixture is uniform and creamy, stir in the asparagus, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook for two minutes.
8. Off the heat. Stir in the butter and let stand for five minutes before serving.
9. Garnish with parsley (Italian, of course).
I like to pair this with a Veneto chardonnay or a gruner veltliner, from Austria.