Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lemon Risotto with Asparagus

When I think of a rich dish like risotto, I think of cozy winter nights, and when I think of asparagus, I think of the first hint of spring.  So this dish - combining the two - felt like the perfect start to the month of March, the month that will transition us from winter (as mild as it has been...) to real spring weather.

  • 42 ounces vegan chicken broth (prepared from Not Chick'n bouillon)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 cup vegan dry white wine
  • 3 cups (1-inch) diagonally cut asparagus
  • 1/2 cup grated vegan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1. Bring the broth to a simmer in a saucepan, but do not boil.  Reduce heat and keep warm over low heat.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the rice and lemon rind; cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Stir in the wine and cook for 3 minutes, still stirring constantly - the liquid should be nearly absorbed.

3. Begin adding 3 and 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time.  Continue to stir constantly, and wait for each portion of the broth to nearly all absorb before adding the next; it will take anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes.  Stir in the asparagus.  Add the remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, following the same method as above - it will take about 10 more minutes.

Note: I've learned a few risotto tricks along the way.  Make sure your broth is neither boiling hot (in which case the rice will cook too fast) nor too cold (in which case the rice won't become tender enough).  Think Goldilocks, in terms of a nice low simmer - just right.   I also recommend using your largest skillet, and keeping the rice and broth evenly dispersed so the rice can absorb the liquid to the maximum.  Yes, you are stirring the whole time, but rather than making it a vigorous stir, think of a gentle agitation.

4. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese (I used Galaxy Foods' vegan mozzarella block tonight) and the lemon juice.  Sprinkle with the thyme.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (about 1 and 1/4 cups), Calories 307

Tasting Notes:
Stirring in the lemon juice and the fresh thyme at the end gives such a fresh POP of flavor. The bright notes of the lemon were beautiful, the risotto was creamy, and the asparagus perfectly tender.  A nice harbinger of spring.


No comments:

Post a Comment