Spring brings us all this gorgeous but pricey fresh asparagus. I don't mind the expense for the pleasure of steamed spears. But I've found that in making risotto, using a frozen product often gives as much flavor, and is easier and cheaper. Step 6 is where I veer away from traditional risotto making - something I figured out when my kids were little and I wanted to be with them rather than stand at the stove, stirring. This early prep saves you at least 10 minutes of on-your-way-to-varicose-veins time.