Risotto bliss

I’ve been craving risotto ever since I realized how much chicken stock was leftover from making soup this weekend. I turned to my old standby, The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, and was not disappointed. I bought this cookbook for myself, my mom, and my mother-in-law several years ago and am always amazed at how simple yet delicious the recipes are. I guess that’s what they were going for with the title but it’s actually true!

Tonight Alex and I made the Asparagus and Lemon Risotto but we swapped zucchini and green onions for the asparagus and regular onion. The lemon is a refreshing touch and the flavors came together beautifully. I can’t wait to try it with asparagus next time.

Snap off the ends of: 1 lb asparagus and cut the spears on the diagonal into 1/4-inch pieces. Remove the zest from 1 lemon. Cut it in half and squeeze out the juice. Melt in a heavy-bottomed 2.5-3 qt saucepan over medium heat: 2 TB butter. Add 1 small onion, diced fine. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent (I dare you not to nibble on the caramelized green onions). Add 1.5 cups arborio rice and cook, stirring now and then, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Do not let it brown. Meanwhile, bring to a boil and then turn off: 5 cups chicken broth. Stir the lemon zest into the sauteed rice, then pour in: 1/2 cup dry white wine. Cook, stirring fairly often, until all the wine is absorbed. Add 1 cup of the warm chicken broth and cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring occasionally. When the rice starts to get thick, pour another 1/2 cup of the broth and add some salt. Keep adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, every time the rice thickens. Don’t let it dry out. After 12 minutes stir in the asparagus. Cook until the rice is tender but still has a firm core, 20-30 minutes in all. When the rice is just about done, stir in half of the lemon juice and: 1 TB butter and 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Stir vigorously to develop the creamy starch. Taste for salt and lemon juice, adding more as needed. Turn off the heat, let risotto sit uncovered for 2 minutes, and serve.

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