As an amateur cook with absolutely no formal culinary training, I’ve always thought that risotto was something that only the most accomplished of chefs would attempt to make. I’ve heard horror stories about ending up with either a pasty lump of inedible junk, or accidentally burning the heck out of the dry arborio rice and destroying the dish before you even had a chance to add the other ingredients. After seeing this recipe on The Cooking Channel and actually watching someone cook this easily and with minimal drama, we felt like it was time to make our own.
This recipe is amazing. The only caveat we present is that you do have to stand over the stove, slowly adding stock and continually stirring, for about 30 minutes. If you have a glass of wine or a TV nearby, you should be fine to handle this portion of the labor, but if you’re in a rush and have other things cooking that need your constant attention, we suggest saving this dish for another time. We originally made this to serve alongside Roasted Chicken with Salsa Verde, and it was the perfect side dish. The bright lemon flavor imparted to the rice works fabulously well with the bright salsa verde.
1 pound asparagus spears [125 calories]
1 tablespoon olive oil [120 calories]
1 tablespoon butter [100 calories]
2 garlic cloves (minced)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter [300 calories]
1 small onion (minced)
1 shallot (minced)
1 cup dry risotto (arborio rice) [640 calories]
1/2 cup dry white wine [50 calories]
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese [115 calories]
Calories per serving: 362 (4 servings) or 241 (6 servings)
Rinse asparagus thoroughly, then remove the tops of the spears and reserve. Chop the spears into pieces, discarding any woody bits.Heat the oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once foaming, add the diced asparagus spears (minus the tops) and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic to the pan, then add the tops of the asparagus spears. Pour ¼ cup of water into the pan, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook until asparagus is tender (5-15 minutes depending on freshness of your raw asparagus).In a small saucepan, bring the 4 cups of chicken stock to a simmer.
In a large pot/sauté pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until melted, then add the garlic and shallot, cooking until both are soft. Add the rice and stir until rice becomes translucent; you should actually see a bright white spot appear in the center of each grain of rice. This should take ~ 5 minutes.
Stir wine into the rice, then cook until wine reduces and the liquid is nearly gone. Add a ladle of chicken stock, then stir the rice until the stock disappears. Repeat this step until all of the chicken stock has been added to the rice, normally about 30 minutes. The final result should be a thick, creamy risotto.
Remove risotto from heat, then add the asparagus to the rice. Add the additional tablespoon of butter, lemon zest, and half of the cheese. Stir well, taste, and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve the risotto with the remaining parmesan cheese sprinkled over top for flavor.
This recipe was adapted from Laura Calder, where it was first presented on her show French Food at Home appearing on The Cooking Channel. If you’d like the original version of this dish, you can find it here
Lemon Asparagus Risotto.