It's almost the end of asparagus season here in Rhode Island, and I'm begging my friends for a few spears here and there, whatever crumbs of the harvest they're willing to toss my way. Every spear is precious when you know it will be ten months until local asparagus returns to the farm stands. I freeze some to use for soup later in the year, but the texture doesn't hold up for a dish like risotto, where the crisp bite of barely-cooked asparagus makes such a perfect contrast to the creamy rice. Two things conspired to create this recipe: the no-longer-dreaded pressure cooker was sitting on the counter, having just been used to cook something else; and the grocery delivery service brought me not the one lemon I'd ordered, but a whole bag of lemons. With a few spears of asparagus in the refrigerator, it was almost too easy. Of course you can make this recipe on the stovetop, too, by following the directions and proportions for this risotto with shrimp and asparagus.
Asparagus and lemon risotto
2 tsp olive oil
1 small red or yellow onion, diced
1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon (approximately 1/4 cup lemon juice)
3-1/2 cups vegetable broth (I use low-sodium store-bought broth), warmed for 3 minutes in a microwave
1 Tbsp butter
2 cups chopped asparagus
Heaping 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
Kosher salt, if needed, to taste
Note: I use a 6-quart electric pressure cooker, so if you have another type, you'll have to make some adjustment in the recipe.
Set the pressure cooker to Browning, and heat the oil. Stir in the onion, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
Add the rice, and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes, until the rice is coated with the oil and very lightly browning. Pour in the wine and lemon juice, which will bubble immediately. Stir for 1 minute, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Then add half of the lemon zest, and all of the vegetable broth.
Lock the top. Set on High Pressure for 6 minutes. It helps to set your own timer when the pot comes to full pressure, so you'll know when the cook time ends.
When the cooker switches to Keep Warm, immediately Quick Release the pressure. After the pressure indicator drops, remove the top.
Switch the cooker to Browning. Stir in the asparagus, butter and cheese. Cook for 1 minute, stirring vigorously, until the cheese has melted. Stir in the black pepper. Taste, and add salt, if needed.
Turn off the pot, and serve the risotto immediately. Any risotto that sits in the pot will begin to thicken as it cools.
TO MAKE THIS RISOTTO ON THE STOVETOP, follow the proportions and directions for this risotto with shrimp and asparagus.
More risotto recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Three mushroom risotto
Lemon and pea risotto
Pressure cooker shrimp and asparagus risotto with mushrooms
Risotto with grapefruit
Green herb risotto
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Meyer lemon risotto, from Simply Recipes
Avgolemono (Greek lemon chicken soup), from One Perfect Bite
One pot chorizo, spinach and lemon risotto, from Love. Life. Eat.
Traditional Easter rice pie, from Food Blogga
Arborio rice pudding with caramelized apples, from Former Chef
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