To celebrate the almost beginning of Spring I have a beautiful, full of fresh flavours Asparagus Lemon Risotto for you today. It’s clean. It’s simple. It’s delicious. It’s my new favourite way to embrace asparagus and I can put it on a table in 40 min! Pretty perfect to me!
Perfect Spring Asparagus Lemon Risotto
Nice, freshly cooked risotto is such a great, versatile dish to enjoy on pretty much any occasion and when cooked right it is an absolute pleasure. I on the other hand have probably committed all crimes against risotto, including burning it in a pan and then trying to rescue what’s left by adding cream, wine and lemon to get rid of the bitterness, which as expected didn’t work very well. Yes, do not waste your time on burnt risotto. If it happens to you too, just start from scratch again!
Unless you use a heavy cast iron pan, which distributes heat more evenly, Asparagus Lemon Risotto will need your loving attention in frequent stirring to help the starch to release and make things seriously creamy. So keep an eye on that pan!
I shared some of my tips on cooking the perfect risotto in the Easy Gourmet Mushroom Risotto post back in September, so have a quick look if you like. Something definitely worth mentioning (except for the need of often and frequent stirring) is that adding wine to rice before the stock goes in improves the risotto significantly (many restaurants part-cook it this way before adding flavouring ingredients later, when the order comes in). This really adds an amazing aroma to the final dish and deepens the flavour.
When it comes to asparagus in rice, super clean and simple is how I personally like it the most.
Asparagus Lemon Risotto has a beautiful, fresh and simple flavour and makes a fantastic spring dish. The recipe can be tweaked in many ways. You can add a bit of peas, mangetout, fresh mint or tarragon, maybe even chives if you like. One thing worth remembering is that asparagus is a delicate veg and can be easily overpowered, but it LOVES lemon, so be generous with the zest.
- 300g (1.5 cup) risotto rice - Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
- 400g asparagus (1 bunch) - sliced to skinny discs
- 1 medium onion - finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp salted butter
- 1 celery stick - finely chopped
- 1.2 l vegetable stock (you might not need it all)
- 150 ml dry white wine
- 1 whole lemon - zest & juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a pan (cast iron is useful in this recipe), on a medium heat fry onions and celery in butter and oil until softened (about 15 min). Add rice, coat well in oils and juices and let it toast in the pan for a few minutes before adding wine. Let the wine evaporate almost completely - you’re after the perfume rather than the acidity at this stage.
- Lower the heat and start adding the stock ladle by ladle allowing rice to absorb it slowly. Stir your risotto often to prevent the rice from caching on the bottom of the pan and to help the starch to release.
- When you have used ⅔ of the stock add asparagus and pour most of the remaining stock in. Turn the heat down and let it cook until the asparagus and rice are almost cooked through.
- Stir in lemon juice and zest and use the remaining stock to loosen up the risotto consistency if you feel like it needs it. You are looking for creamy, but not runny texture. Remember that even when you take the pan off the stove the rice will continue to absorb the moisture, so sprinkle your parmesan over and serve immediately.
Looking for other Italian recipes? You might like my super easy Homemade Marinara Sauce and beautiful Meatballs with Simple Ratatouille! How about this 30 min Bacon & Garlic Pasta?! Or, maybe, an absolute star of dips Aubergine, Mushroom & Garlic Dip! For even more delicious, garlic containing recipes go to Garlic Recipes in main menu above this post.