Creamy Lemon Risotto with Asparagus
1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 cups Arborio rice
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
6 cups chicken broth, heated to a simmer
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the asparagus and 2 tablespoons water. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and microwave on high until the spears are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Alternatively, place the asparagus in a steamer basket and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Cover and steam until the spears are tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Cut into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
In a large, heavy saute´pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. When the butter has melted, add the shallot and cook, stirring often, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme sprigs and cook until the shallot is softened and translucent, about 3 minutes longer.
Add the rice and 1 teaspoon salt to the pan, stirring to coat the grains of rice with the butter and oil. Raise the heat to medium-high, pour in the wine and stir until absorbed. Reduce the heat to medium and add a ladleful of hot broth. Cook, stirring often, until the broth is absorbed. Reduce the heat to medium-low if necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue to cook the risotto, adding the broth a ladleful at a time and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender but still pleasantly chewy, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the reserved asparagus, lemon zest, cream, and cheese. Then stir in the lemon juice and a final ladleful of broth to achieve a creamy texture. The risotto should not be too stiff or too runny; it should mound softly on a spoon. Sprinkle with the parsley, season with pepper and serve immediately.
|Making risotto isn't difficult but it does require some patience as you continually add broth, stir until it's absorbed, and add some more until you get a creamy mixture.|