Asparagus Risotto with Lemon and Mint

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Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 6

Preparation time:
Cooking time:

Ingredients

To make this risotto vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. This risotto will serve 4 as a main course. To add flavor and bulk up plain risotto, top individual bowls with cooked, roasted, or grilled vegetables. Don’t fret if you have broth left over once the rice has finished cooking. We discovered that different brands of rice cook differently. Therefore, we prefer to err on the side of having slightly too much broth on hand rather than too little.
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1 onion , minced
Table salt
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound thin asparagus (1 bunch), tough ends trimmed and discarded
2 ounces Parmesan cheese , grated (1 cup)
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Ground black pepper
Lemon wedges (for serving)

Method

# Use imported Arborio rice, an Italian-grown, short-grain rice. Other types of medium or short-grain rice don’t work nearly as well. Look in the gourmet section of your supermarket.
# After sautéing the rice in butter until translucent, add the wine and cook until the rice has absorbed it. This will cook off the wine’s alcohol and flavor the rice.
# Add roughly half the broth and simmer the rice until the liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Constant stirring and small additions of broth simply aren’t necessary until the rice is closer to being done.
# Add the broth in small amounts and stir frequently once the first batch of broth is absorbed. Different batches of rice will require different amounts of broth.
# Use imported Parmesan cheese for the best flavor. Buy a whole piece and grate it fresh.

1. Bring the broth and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and keep the broth warm over the lowest possible heat.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until lightly browned, about 9 minutes.

3. Stir in the rice and cook until the edges begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until it is completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.

4. While the rice is cooking, cut the asparagus spears on the bias into 1/2-inch lengths. Add the asparagus to the rice after the wine has been absorbed (about 5 minutes of cooking), then add 3 cups of the warm broth mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, about 11 minutes.

5. Continue to cook, stirring in roughly 1/2 cup of the broth every few minutes, until the rice is cooked through but is still somewhat firm in the center, about 11 minutes.

6. Stir in the Parmesan, mint, and zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.

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