Recipes

Apr 9, 2014 7:47 PM by Jennifer English

Lemon risotto with asparagus

Lemon Risotto with Asparagus

I have a very special friend who is a vegetarian. He is a connoisseur. He is seven years old. He has inspired me to search for the most delicious, satisfying, comforting recipes to make for him and that will be equal to his keen, if young, food sense. It got me to thinking.

In our culture we are doing away with many of the heretofore commonly used pejorative terms of childhood, and not a moment too soon as far as I am concerned. Words like bossy. I think the next word we have to do away with is "picky." As in, my kid is a picky eater. I suspect that for any one of us that identifies today as a "foodie," chances are that we were always interested in the flavor and quality of our food. Without a language adequate to describe why we did not want to eat certain foods, we got the picky label. Today foodies are picky. Only now, we are celebrated for our "food sense" and good taste. Today us formerly picky eaters are now connoisseurs.

So why don't we start talking about our kids the same way today. My kid is a connoisseur. Sounds much better and certainly more positive. If you have a kid connoisseur, I offer this recipe with our thanks to Chef Gena Hanshaw which I discovered on Food52.com, and which is the perfect dish for my vegetarian friend. This recipe is splendid as written, but shines with all manner of alternative spring veggies. My one tip is to not overcook the vegetables. Peas, edamame, try your connoisseurs favorite.

1 bunch of asparagus spears (15 to 20), trimmed and chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (you may not use it all, but have it handy anyway)
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Add the asparagus spears and blanch for about two minutes, or until they're tender but still have some crunch. Remove them from the pan and run under cold water to stop them from cooking further. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and onions and cook for four minutes, or until the onions are getting soft. Add the garlic and cook for another three minutes.
3. Add the rice and heat it in the saucepan, stirring constantly, for about two minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the white wine, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and cook, stirring gently and vigilantly, till the white wine has been absorbed.
4. Add a cup of stock to the pan and cook, stirring as needed, till the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock in 1/2- to 3/4-cup amounts, stirring each time until the stock is absorbed. You may not need all five cups of broth to make the rice creamy and soft, but you can expect to use most of it. When the rice is tender but still has some chew, stir in the nutritional yeast and thyme, along with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Stir the blanched asparagus into the rice and heat through. Serves 4.

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