Lemon Asparagus Risotto

This Lemon Asparagus risotto is bright and elegant and full of creamy flavor. The combination of lemon and asparagus is an ode to Spring and the fresh produce starting to pop up in the farmer’s markets this time of year. Risotto is a dedicated dish to make…you have to be vigilant about stirring and patient with adding broth in small amounts and allowing the broth to fully envelope the rice one half cup at a time. The dedication to this dish pays off when you have that first bite! This is also a great leftover dish that can be reheated and crisped up on the stove or recreated with sliced chicken.


Lemon Asparagus Risotto
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of asparagus spears (15 to 20), trimmed and chopped into 1½-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (you may not use it all, but have it handy anyway)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Instructions
  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Add the asparagus spears and blanch for about two minutes, or until they're tender but still have some crunch. Remove them from the pan and run under cold water to stop them from cooking further. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and onions and cook for four minutes, or until the onions are getting soft. Add the garlic and cook for another three minutes.
  3. Add the rice and heat it in the saucepan, stirring constantly, for about two minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the white wine, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and cook, stirring gently and vigilantly, till the white wine has been absorbed.
  4. Add a cup of stock to the pan and cook, stirring as needed, until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock in ½- to ¾-cup amounts, stirring each time until the stock is absorbed. You may not need all five cups of broth to make the rice creamy and soft, but you can expect to use most of it. When the rice is tender but still has some chew, stir in the parmesan cheese and thyme, along with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir the blanched asparagus into the rice and heat through. Serve.