The ideal risotto for spring: Asparagus and Lemon Risotto. Bright, zesty lemon lifts nearly every dish it’s added to and it’s the perfect partner for fresh, new season asparagus. I always make sure to eat as much asparagus as I can get my hands on as it’s so seasonal, arriving with a bang with the first warm days of spring and gone again before the heat of summer.
Lemon? In a risotto? Really?
Yes! The combination of these two ingredients results in a warmly comforting risotto that is light and fresh and somehow just right. The lemon lifts and enhances the asparagus and the salty Parmesan cheese rounds everything off.
Isn’t risotto a gigantic pain to make?
Lots of people are put off making risotto because they’ve heard you have to slave over the pot, stirring frantically for hours or the whole thing will be ruined. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Take it easy and your risotto will be delicious
Risotto is an incredibly relaxing dish to make, slowly simmered and stirred, and while it does require your attention, it’s not demanding. Here’s the trick: If you prepare your ingredients before you start, it’s simply a matter of adding them to the pan at the right time and giving the pan a gentle stir now and then. There is no need to be chained to the stove.
It’S all about LA dolce vita! THink Italian!
You’re cooking Italian food here! Put on some cool Italian tunes and pour a nice glass of pinot grigio. I think that as the risotto gets a glass of wine, it’s only fair that the cook should get one too! Give it a try and see just how easy it is.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I can’t get arborio rice. Can I still make risotto?
While the purists would be horrified, nearly any rice will make a risotto of some style, the texture and timings will be different. Ideally, you want a short to medium grain rice as this will produce the most creamy risotto, so stick to arborio or carnaroli if possible.
Is this recipe suitable for vegetarians?
You’ll need to find a vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese as Parmesan contains meat product.
I’m scared of making risotto! Is it true I have to stir it constantly?
While risotto requires your attention and that you stay nearby, cooking it over a fairly gentle heat means you only really need to stir it every 30 seconds or so. Just keep an eye on it, don’t cook it over a raging heat and you’ll be fine.
Can I make a double batch?
Absolutely! I often do as it reheats wonderfully or you can use it to make Arancini or Italian rice balls (recipe coming soon!)
CAn You Reheat Risotto?
Yes! It is easy to reheat risotto and perfectly delicious. I use two different methods, on the stove top and in the oven.
Method 1 (Stovetop): Loosen the risotto with a few tablespoons of water and heat through, stirring occasionally over a low heat. This method produces a creamier risotto.
Method 2 (Oven): Transfer the risotto to an oven-proof dish, sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of water and cover tightly with foil. Bake in an oven at 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4 for 20-30 minutes until warmed through.
- 1 litre (1 qt.) vegetable or chicken stock, from stock cubes or powder is fine
- 1 small bunch asparagus, approx. 12 spears, trimmed and cut into 3
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 250 g (1 ¼ cup) arborio or carnaroli rice
- 125 ml (½ cup) dry white wine
- zest of 1 lemon
- 50 g (½ cup) Parmesan cheese, grated
- juice of ½ a lemon
- freshly ground black pepper
- extra Parmesan
- finely sliced lemon zest, optional
- COOK THE ASPARAGUS: Bring the stock to the boil, cook the asparagus in the stock with the lid on for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and refresh under cold, running water and set aside. Keep the stock warm.
- SAUTÉ THE ONION: In a wide, heavy-based saucepan heat the olive oil and one tablespoon of the butter until the butter has melted. Cook the onion gently for 4-5 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for another minute, stirring all the time.
- ADD THE RICE: Add the rice to the pan and stir well to coat with the oil and butter, then pour the wine into the pan, stirring to de-glaze the pan. Allow to bubble until mostly evaporated.
- COOK THE RISOTTO: Add the stock to the pan, one ladleful at a time, stirring occasionally and allowing the stock to be nearly completely absorbed before you add the next ladleful. I set a timer for 20 minutes but it may take a little longer or less depending on your specific rice. Do stay with the pan and don’t allow the rice to catch on the bottom.
- TEST AND SEASON: When the last ladleful of stock has nearly evaporated, test the rice to make sure it is done to your liking. Remove from the heat, sprinkle over the Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter and the asparagus, squeeze over the lemon juice then cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- STIR AND SERVE: Stir well before serving in warmed bowls. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve with extra parmesan on the side. Top with a few strands of very finely sliced lemon zest if you like.
Imperial measurements are approximate. For best results weigh your ingredients using an electric scale like the one below.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 786Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 1103mgCarbohydrates: 99gFiber: 12gSugar: 31gProtein: 24g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.