How to make vegetarian lemon and asparagus risotto

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What sounds better after a long day than a glass of rosé on the terrace of your Tuscan villa while the scent of risotto wafts from the kitchen? If you’re lucky enough to have a Tuscan villa, you probably already have a great risotto recipe in your arsenal; if not, you do now! This recipe makes the perfect risotto: rich but never gummy, flavorful but not overbearing, creamy yet fresh. The lemon and asparagus add a summery twist that makes this the perfect dish to eat outside while watching the sun set. Or, if you’re simply willing summer to return, eat it inside by candlelight while listening to Italian music. Either way, you’re in for a meal to remember.
Vegetarian lemon and asparagus risotto
15 minutes
45 minutes
1 hour
6 tablespoons olive oil, separated
16 spears asparagus, bottoms trimmed
6 cups vegetable broth
2 shallots, chopped
2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the asparagus in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Bring the vegetable broth to simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cover with a fitted lid.
Place the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
Add shallots. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the rice to the shallots, and stir for a full minute to ensure every grain of rice is covered in a thin layer of oil.
Add the wine. Stir until fully evaporated, about 30 seconds.
Add 1 1/2 cups of the hot broth. Simmer until fully absorbed, stirring frequently.
Repeat with remaining broth until the rice is creamy and tender, about 35 minutes in total.
While rice is cooking, roast the asparagus until tender, 5-10 minutes. When tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting each spear into thirds.
After all of the liquid has been added to the rice, stir in the cheese, parsley, lemon juice, lemon peel and asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
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