lemon asparagus risotto

Why, what did YOU have for breakfast this morning?

You DIDN’T have lemon asparagus risotto?

Ok, technically I didn’t make risotto for breakfast. I made it for dinner. However, every picture of risotto that I took last night was all yellow and stuff. There’s only so much correcting you can do on a picture to make it look like daytime, y’all.

Or there’s only so much correcting I can do to make it look like daytime. A photo editing wizard I am not. I take 2 to … eh, maybe 5 pictures of everything I make, and then I get bored. If none can be fixed by the free software that comes with Crockett’s mac (that I’ve completely taken over and he’s never getting back unless he tells me I can’t use it anymore and is then willing to put up with the included sulk fest), then you don’t get to see any.

I did have leftover risotto for breakfast, though, because the recipe that I started with suggested it made 4 – 6 servings and the recipe that I ended up creating made more like 10.

What. I like it when I have asparagus scented pee all day.

Last night I did give Crockett the camera. I asked him to take some candid dinner shots.

Then I looked at him to see if he was doing it.


Then, when he did take a candid picture, I was all ‘dude, what is going on with my hair and why am I leaning like that and what the fuck am I looking at and didn’t you see my NOSE and…’ and now he may never take a candid photo of me ever again.

These things happen.


Lemon Asparagus Risotto
inspired by Spring Lemon Risotto with Fiddlehead Ferns and Asparagus by The Kitchn

A note about risotto: this stuff takes a very long time. I knew that, going in, but if you don’t know that, believe me. Risotto recipes round DOWN, y’all. They say ’20 minutes’. They say ’30 minutes’. I don’t know how long risotto takes at sea level, where the water boils ten degrees hotter than here in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. Maybe it does take half an hour. Here, it takes an hour or more. Just embrace it. I did. I embraced it while running into Crockett’s office every twenty minutes to holler that I was STILL STIRRING. Just so he knew.

A note about rice: see below where the * is? Ok, so. Arborio is easy to find and good. Carnaroli is harder to find and like twice as expensive, but is the darling of the foodie community right now. I haven’t tried it. I don’t know if it’s worth it. What I do know is that if the rice you have on hand isn’t one of these two, it isn’t going to be great risotto. It will be GOOD, I’m sure, but these two have lots and lots of starch, and that’s what makes that creamy risotto juice.
You heard me – I said risotto juice.
Do not under any circumstances try this with brown rice. Better cooks than I have tried. And then failed. And then fallen into a black hole of dispair, never to be heard from again.

1/2 bunch asparagus (if you’re not buying your asparagus in bunches, this is 8-12 stalks, depending on thickness)
3 tablespoons butter, in two roughly even pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sweet onion
2 medium shallots
2 cloves garlic
2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice *
1/2 cup dry white wine or 1/4 cup white vermouth
7 (or so) cups hot vegetable or chicken stock
zest of 1 medium lemon
1/2 cup grated romano cheese

  1. You’re going to need to pre-cook the asparagus. Rinse it and slice it into 1 inch lengths, and then blanch it (boil some water and drop the asparagus in for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water).
  2. Chop the hell out of the onion and shallots. Basically here you’re going for pieces the size of a piece of rice. Irritating, yes, but it really helps with the final texture and it only takes one or two minutes longer than a rough chop.
  3. Put the broth in a pot, then bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn it down far enough that the surface is still steaming but no bubbles are appearing. On my stove, that’s all the way down.
  4. In a big old pot (dutch oven if you have one), heat the oil and one part of the butter over medium until the butter is melted. Dump in the chopped onion and shallots, and add the two whole cloves of garlic. Cook until all the onions are clear, but try to stop short of browning. While browned onions are delicious, that’s going to completely screw the rest of the dish, so totally believe me here – stop at clear. (FINE – I do usually brown my onions, no matter what recipes say. Don’t be like me.)
  5. Add the rice all at once, and stir casually until the grains are all  clear around the edges but white in the middle (3 – 5 minutes). Add the wine or vermouth and stir until there’s no extra moisture in the bottom of the pan. The rice will be very slightly wetter, you’re just looking for no puddle.
  6. Add the stock half a cup at a time. Every time you add stock, you’re going to stir until the stock is mostly absorbed. It’s going to take longer than you think. It’ll happen faster at first, and you’ll be all dude, what was Emma smoking, this IS super fast, but towards the end you’ll start to wonder if something is going wrong. It isn’t. What you’re looking for is rice that is exactly bordering the line between firm and crunchy. Crunchy = undercooked. Firm = perfect. Risotto has bite. It will take awhile. If your rice is older or drier than expected, it may take more than the 7 cups of stock. If your rice is younger or softer than expected, it may take less. Use your best judgement. No one knows what you think is delicious more than you.
  7. When you think you’re ALMOST done, add the lemon zest. When you think you’re done, add the asparagus so it can heat back up and the cheese so it can melt.
  8. Eat.

It really was a valid choice for breakfast. Think congee.

However, since I didn’t get my breakfast muesli, I took it for lunch.

Pretty, no. Delicious, yes. I have these Sonya apples and they’re super duper sweet without being soft – the holy grail of appledom, as far as I’m concerned. Crunchy is king, followed by flavor. I grated my apple into a container, and then added oats, and then added yogurt, and then put the whole mess into my backpack to be opened several hours later.

More exciting than the fairly pedestrian muesli is what I used to eat it.

This is my new To Go Ware reusable bamboo utensil set. I got obsessed with this ages ago, but Crockett was all ‘hon, what’s wrong with packing real metal utensils?’. He was right, except that I forget them both coming and going. Either I end up with no way to eat my yogurt and I try to turn the lid into a makeshift spoon (unsuccessful 100% of the time) or I use my spoon for my yogurt and then three weeks later I find an weird crusty spoon in my backpack. I saw these at Whole Foods last week and I happened to have a lost-until-the-move gift certificate to WF from my dad, so I splurged. They make me feel like I’m backpacking, even when I’m not. It’s all very exciting.


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