Creamy silky Italian comfort food loaded with asparagus, lemon, and Parmesan cheese. It makes a delicious meatless main dish.
- 4 Tbsp. butter, divided
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, about 2 lemons
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 8 oz. asparagus, about 1/2 bunch, trimmed to 3″-inch pieces
- Olive oil, for roasting asparagus
- Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
- In a small saucepan, heat chicken broth over medium heat. Keep warm over low heat on the stovetop. It should be just barely steaming. You do not want the broth simmering at any point.
- Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a 4-quart deep sauté pan. Add shallots and cook until soft and translucent, about 2-4 minutes, stirring frequently. You only want the shallots to soften and not take on any color. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring constantly.
- Add rice and stir well to make sure each granule is coated with the butter. Toast for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. You will hear a slight crackling noise.
- Add 1/2 cup warm chicken broth and stir the rice until all of the stock is absorbed. Then start adding warm broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. As soon as it appears that the rice has absorbed the stock, add in the next 1/2 cup of broth.
- Continue adding broth and stirring after each addition until the rice no longer has a hard bite. The grains should be tender but not mushy, with a slightly firm center. You may not need all of the broth.
- When the risotto is halfway done you’ll want to put the asparagus in the oven. That way it is done when the risotto is done. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the asparagus on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until tender.
- Risotto is ready when the rice is al dente and is the consistency of thick porridge. It should be more of a liquid than a solid. If you run your spoon through the risotto, the risotto will flow slowly to fill in the space.
- Once the risotto is ready, remove the pan from heat, add the remaining butter, and stir until melted. Add Parmesan, lemon zest, and juice. Stir until cheese is melted and the liquid surrounding risotto is creamy but very fluid. Stir in more broth if needed to achieve the right consistency. Season with salt to taste.
- Serve immediately topped with roasted asparagus, more Parmesan if desired, and fresh cracked pepper.
- Leftovers: Risotto is best enjoyed immediately but if you do happen to have leftover risotto, it will be fine in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Keywords: creamy rice, meatless main dish, spring risotto