Slow Cooker Risotto

When I received my first slow cooker as a wedding gift four years ago, I was constantly trying to find good vegetarian recipes.  It seems that most slow cooker recipes are geared toward meat (and rightly so, since a slow cooker can make the toughest piece of meat tender and delicious).  Since I love being able to toss all my ingredients into one pot, flip a switch and have a delicious meal appear hours later, I am always trying to find more ways to use this appliance in a way that fits in with how I like to eat on a regular basis.

As I was leaving the office yesterday, my co-worker asked me if I ever use a slow-cooker to make dinner.  Suddenly a light bulb went off in my head:  I had been planning on giving risotto in the oven a shot, but why not try to see if I could make it in a slow cooker instead... Yes! This was possible! WHY did risotto never come up in my slow-cooker recipe searches??? This is now years gone by of lost risotto opportunities!!!  Better late than never I suppose...  If you don't own a slow cooker, I encourage you to try making it in the oven a la Joy the Baker.  Either method is far less intensive than babysitting your rice the entire time you are cooking (as described in my last risotto post here).

I adapted this Williams-Sonoma recipe for the slow cooker.  The recipe calls for leeks (which I LOVE), but alas, there were none at Trader Joes, so I substituted the leeks for 1 red onion and 1 shallot. 

First, saute the onions and shallots (or leeks) in olive oil for about 8 minutes, then add garlic, thyme and salt for one min before adding the rice for a few minutes until toasted.  Next, add the wine and cook for one minute before adding to slow cooker.

Toss the asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper before sauteing for about 8 minutes before adding to the slow cooker along with the broth:

Cook mixture on high for 2 hours - once broth has been fully absorbed, add cheese and butter:

Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve!

The really nice thing about this slow cooker recipe is that it only requires about 2 hours (when it comes to slow cookers, this is super speedy).  Of course, of the three ways to prepare risotto, this is the slowest.

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