Asparagus & Meyer Lemon Risotto
Two of the biggest stars of springtime are asparagus and Meyer lemons. Bring these two light springtime flavors together in a creamy risotto and you will be in heaven. I made a video about it at nom.com. You can find it here.
1 bunch asparagus
4 cups vegetable stock, or water
1 large shallot
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice
1 clove garlic
¼ cup dry white wine
1 Meyer lemon
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more to pass at the table
¼ cup crème fraiche (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Rinse and trim ¼ to 1 inch off the bottom of the asparagus and strip off the tough lower skin with a vegetable peeler (about ¼ to ½ of the way from the bottom of the asparagus, leaving the tips). Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water until it is tender but not mushy and still bright green. Drain the asparagus and dunk it in cold icy water to stop the cooking process.
Heat the vegetable stock in a saucepan and keep it over low heat so that it’s ready to use. Wipe out the large pot. Trim, peel and finely chop the shallot and put it in the large pot over medium low heat with the butter and olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the shallot is soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and continue to cook until the rice is glossy and partly translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Take care not to brown the rice. Trim, peel, chop and add the garlic; stir until fragrant, about a minute. Add the wine and stir until it is almost totally evaporated. Ladle about one cup of hot stock into the rice. Stir often and add more stock once the first cup is almost absorbed. Continue to add the stock one cup at a time until the rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. If you run out of stock, warm some water to finish the risotto. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Rinse and dry the lemon. Grate the zest directly over the risotto and mix it in along with the parmesan cheese and crème fraiche if you have it. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Slice the asparagus diagonally and fold into the risotto. Serve hot with parmesan passed at the table.