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Asparagus Risotto with Meyer Lemon Zest

October 20, 2010

Back when I was an intern at Gourmet I helped proofread Gourmet Today. In the process I pulled a whole lot of recipes that I promised myself I’d try at home. One of the ones I never got to was a Beet Risotto — while the recipe isn’t vegan, with my newfound risotto expertise, I think I can find a way!

It’s true what they say, risotto is extremely labor intensive — you’ll be stirring for more than 30 minutes straight — but it’s well worth the effort! This version uses meyer lemon zest, something I’ve been meaning to try out for a while now, but they’re only recently in season at Whole Food. I based this recipe off of one I heard about from Tal Ronnen — and now that I’ve tried it, I’m really tempted to buy The Conscious Cook.

Asparagus Risotto with Meyer Lemon Zest

• Sea salt
• 1 bunch asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces
• Black pepper (to season)
• 3 tbss extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 shallots, chopped
• 5 garlic cloves, chopped
• 2 cups Arborio rice
• 7 cups vegetable stock
• Grated zest of 2 Meyer lemons
• Juice of 2 Meyer lemons
• 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts for garnish

Because you have to constantly be stirring while making risotto, it’s best to prepare everything you need ahead of time. If there’s more than one person cooking one chef can zest the lemon while the other stirs, but if you’re cooking alone it’s best to zest before.

Fill a pot with water and add a bit of sea salt to bring to a boil. Blanch the cut asparagus in the water for one minute and chill in an ice bath made up of water and ice. After the asparagus are chilled, drain and sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.

Zest the two lemons into a small bowl. After they’re completely zested, squeeze juice into an additional bowl and set aside.

Chop the shallots into small pieces and do the same with the garlic, but keep them separate. Place a very large sauté pan with high sides over a medium heat. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and after a minute add the oil. Let heat for 30 seconds and then add chopped shallots. After three minutes add the garlic as well and sauté for another minute. Add the two cups of Arobrio rice and stir constantly for two minutes.

At this point you will start to add the seven cups of vegetable stock one at a time. You should stir constantly and only add the stock once the previous cup has been absorbed. It can be a bit difficult to tell once the stock is absorbed, especially towards the end when it becomes a bit creamier. If that’s the case, you can add the stock when the rice becomes a bit thicker and difficult to stir. It should take around 30 minutes to add the stock. As your cooking, you can taste and add seasoning as you like depending on what kind of stock you use.

Once all the stock is absorbed, add the lemon zest and asparagus and cook for another four or five minutes or until asparagus is sufficiently heated.

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Serve immediately and garnish with toasted pine nuts.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    October 20, 2010 3:04 pm

    LOVE risotto–I actually don’t think it’s as work intensive as the impression most people give. True, you can’t just walk away for an hour but it’s worth it. I’ll have to try this specific recipe!

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