Risotto with Lemon and Asparagus

one-big-tableOne Big Table: A portrait of American Cooking, Molly O’Neill

One big table, indeed! This is an impressive book. Almost 900 pages of recipes and stories about American food from former New York Times food columnist Molly O’Neill was a decade-long project spanning over 300,000 miles. She gathered recipes from cooks all over the country and they are fascinating. I picked a simple one, but a favorite of mine. I’d never made a risotto without a dash of white wine, but the acid of the lemon was added the perfect tang, and I didn’t miss the vino a bit. Give it a try!

Julie Shafer’s Risotto with lemon and asparagus

2 lemons

2 small bundles asparagus

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 t unsalted butter

2 T olive oil

2 c Arborio or Carnaroli rice

2 to 3 quarts homemade chicken broth or low-sodium homemade broth, heated

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

  1. Grate the lemon zest, juice the lemons, and strain the juice.
  2. Peel the asparagus, cutting off the woody ends. Cut the spears into 1-inch lengths and steam to al dente.
  3. Cook the onion in the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until they are transparent and fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir until grains are almost clear, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Keeping the broth on a low boil, ladle 1 to 1 ½ cups in to rice. Stir constantly, utnil liquid is just about absorbed. Continue adding broth in the same manner, until rice is creamy and almost al dente. You may not need all the broth.
  5. Stir in the lemon zest, lem juice, and asparagus with one last ladle of broth. Cook for 1 minute.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and add finely grated Parmesan to taste. Cove with a lid or foil. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8


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