Asparagus Risotto with Lemon (serves 4)

7 09 2005

Adapted from California Home Cooking by Michele Anna Jordan (Harvard Common Press, 1997).

Simple Solution:
A delicious — in fact, heavenly! — use for seasonal asparagus, this recipe makes a flavorful and pretty side dish that will perk up any springtime celebration.
The combination of creamy rice, tender asparagus, and tangy lemon is irresistible, like a taste of Spring sunshine!

~ 1 pound asparagus, trimmed of tough ends and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
~ 1/4 cup olive oilk
~ osher salt
~ freshly-ground black pepper
~ 1 small yellow onion, diced1 shallot, minced
~ 1 1/4 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
~ 4 to 5 cups vegetable stock, hot
~ 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
~ 1 tablespoon minced lemon zest
~ 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or dry jack cheese
~ 1 tablespoon julienned lemon zest

1. Preheat the oven to 500F. Toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium bowl until each piece is coated. Spread the asparagus evenly on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and roast until just tender, 7 to 10 minutes.
2. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, and saute it until it is soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add the shallot and saute for 5 minutes more. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until each grain begins to turn milky white, about 2 minutes. Keeping the stock hot over low heat, add it to the rice, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly after each addition until nearly all the liquid is absorbed. Continue to add stock and stir until the rice is tender but not mushy, a total of 18 to 20 minutes.
3. Stir in the lemon juice, minced lemon zest, and cheese. Fold in the asparagus, and remove from the heat. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl or individual plates, garnish with julienned lemon zest and parsley, and serve immediately.



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