This one was really very delicious! The champagne in the risotto was a nice kick, though to be honest, I didn’t taste too much of a difference from using wine when it comes down to it. So, if you have champagne at home, by all means, use it. But if you don’t, I don’t really think you need to go run out and buy some to make this recipe either! White wine is great too.
Oh, one more thing. This came from the Rachel Ray magazine website I think, and the original called for a lemon cream sauce to put over the chicken. Well, I don’t know if it is because I tried to be health conscious and used fat free half and half instead or what, but the sauce was watery and NASTY. We didn’t use it, and the recipe was still great! So, I left it out in my directions below. If you are intrigued by the sauce, look it up on the website!
Chicken with Champagne Risotto and Asparagus
3 cups chicken broth
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
Salt and pepper
1 split champagne or sparkling wine
poultry seasoning (about a tablespoon or so)
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/8 pound sliced pancetta, chopped
1 small bunch asparagus, cut on an angle into 1-inch pieces
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
3 to 4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
lemon juice (optional)
In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken broth over low heat. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the champagne and boil to evaporate slightly, about 2 minutes.
Stir a couple of ladlefuls of warm chicken broth into the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates. Add more broth, a few ladlefuls at a time, reserving 1/2 cup. Cook until creamy, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board (reserving the skillet); add the reserved 1/2 cup chicken broth to the pan juices in the skillet and stir. Stir this liquid into the risotto as it cooks.
In the nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and shallot and cook, stirring, for 3 more minutes.
To serve, stir the cheese and thyme into the risotto and spoon generous portions onto plates. Slice the chicken breasts on an angle and fan out over the risotto. Pour the lemon juice over the asparagus and toss; spoon around the risotto.