Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Asparagus lemon risotto

Let's continue with seasonal, bright, fresh flavors in simple dishes- shall we?

Have you been seeing all the super cheap, deliciously perfect asparagus in your grocery store these days? And have you been thinking to yourself what you can do with all that (cheap and delicious) asparagus- other than cook it up with some lemon juice and tarragon? If so, I have the answer for you...


RISOTTO!

But not my typical uber-mushroom risotto that you may remember from back in the day. It's my absolute favorite way to prepare risotto using tons and tons of dried and fresh mushrooms for an intense, deeply rich, and umami-filled savory dinner. But I've always been curious to attempt a lighter, more spring take on this classic wintery dish. And holy cow am I glad I did!

Lemons!

While I still love my mushroom risotto, this dish is perfect for the spring weather. The earthy asparagus works in harmony with the citrus-y kick (from lemon juice and zest) in the starchy, hearty rice. The flavors are simple, but bright and clean. And while the spring flavors have a nice lightness to them, the dish still has a hearty-ness to it, which works wonders during these it's-too-warm-to-be-winter-but-still-not-warm-enough-for-spring weather we've been having this year.

Sadly I don't have a photo of the final dish, but its your run of the mill risotto with nice green pop of color from fresh asparagus. So go to the market right now, buy a big bunch of asparagus, and whip up this wonderful dinner in no time.

Buen Provecho,
Jacqueline

Asparagus and lemon risotto, from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, stalks cut into 2-inch lengths
1 cup thawed frozen peas, optional
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions
  1. Bring stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep it on a low simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat in another saucepan. Cook onion, stirring frequently, until soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Add rice, cook, stirring, until edges are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring, just until evaporated. 
  3. Add 1/2 cup hot stock; cook, stirring, until almost absorbed. 
  4. Continue adding 1/2 cup hot stock in this manner until liquid is creamy and rice is al dente, about 20 minutes total (you may not need to add all the stock). Note: for some reason it always takes me ~30 - 40 minutes for risotto even though every recipe I've seen says 20 minutes. If it takes you longer, don't worry about it. Just keep adding stock until the rice tastes done to you.
  5. Add asparagus with the last addition of stock, and the peas about 1 minute before risotto is done. (Alternatively: steam your asparagus and throw it into the rice in step 6.)
  6. Remove from heat; stir in lemon zest and juice, parsley, cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with additional cheese and lemon zest.

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