Prepare the asparagus: Wash the asparagus and snap each stalk in half. Cut the bottom halves into pieces and boil them for 10 minutes in 12 ounces of water. Discard these woody bits and save the water. Cut the top halves into three portions. Boil these more tender pieces in the same water for 5 minutes. Set the asparagus pieces to one side and save the water that now has been infused with the asparagus flavor.
Cook the scallops: Drain the scallops and dry well between layers of paper towel. Put a heavy bottomed 10" or 12” sauté pan over medium-high heat and add a Tablespoon of oil and a teaspoon of butter. Salt and pepper one side of the scallops and, when the pan is nice and hot, cook the scallops for 2 minutes on the seasoned side. Remove to a plate, salt and pepper the other side of the scallops, and put any liquid from the pan in with the asparagus water. Add another Tablespoon of oil and a little butter and cook the other side of the scallops for 2 minutes.
Break the barely cooked scallops into pieces. Remove to a plate and keep the scallops warm in a 200º oven.
Put any juices from the pan in with the asparagus nectar. Deglaze the pan with a few Tablespoons of water or white wine, as desired, and add the liquid to the asparagus water.
Bring the asparagus water back to temperature, add the 2 cups of broth and the other 8 ounces of water and let simmer. Depending on the saltiness of the broth, you may want to add a little more salt, according to taste. By now, you will have a very nice broth with which to season the rice. Keep it hot but not boiling as you cook the rice.
Sautee the chopped onion in 2 Tablespoons of oil and a Tablespoon of butter over medium heat until translucent. Add the dry rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the white wine and simmer for 1 more minute. Raise the heat on the burner to medium high and set the timer for 16 minutes.
Add 1 cup of the hot broth and allow it to cook in for 3 or 4 minutes. Then add another cup of broth, stirring to lift the rice off of the bottom.
Add more hot broth as necessary to keep the rice wet and just a little soupy, keeping the heat fairly high throughout.
Three minutes before the time is up, add the scallop pieces and any juice from the plate. One minute before time is up add the asparagus and carefully incorporate so the tips don’t break apart.
Add a small amount of broth if the rice is super-absorbent. There should always be a little extra liquid in the pan.
When the time is up, remove from the heat and mix in the cheese. Top the risotto with a spoonful of parmesan and serve piping hot with crusty bread. Such good flavors – enjoy!