It’s Spring, which means asparagus season here. Despite the stinky pee, it is one of my favourite foods, especially fresh green asparagus. This lemon risotto with asparagus has some great Spring tastes and you can easily adapt it to suit the rest of your diners.
A case in point
Asparagus can be quite divisive and, unfortunately, my husband is not as keen on green asparagus. He will eat a few spears each Spring and that is it, so I can’t put it in everything I want. Miss M does not appreciate asparagus yet either, but she hates bacon and doesn’t like chicken as well.
Where possible, I try and work out ways for me to have as much asparagus as I can, but for Peter only to have a little, or none, if he prefers.
This easy, lemon risotto with asparagus recipe is best at this time of year when the asparagus is freshest. The fact that you can easily adjust the recipe to suit each person’s tastes makes it an easy meal even if you have asparagus haters.
Lemon and asparagus risotto or lemon risotto with asparagus?
This dish is loosely based on a recipe from Donna Hay for broad bean and lemon pasta. She is one of my favourite chefs and I have tweaked some of her recipes for Tea with Mum, such as this maple ginger tarte tatin.
I say risotto with asparagus because I tend to use the asparagus more like a garnish. This means that Peter can add as much or as little as he wants, and I get the rest. Miss M can just have some risotto with no garnish but a lot of parmesan cheese.
Alternatively, you can add the asparagus to the pot when you add the onion. This will mean that the asparagus is cooked with the rice and the dish will have a stronger asparagus flavour – thus lemon asparagus risotto.
Tips for the perfect lemon risotto with asparagus
Some people like to use a pot for risotto. I prefer to use a broader pan. This one has been my favourite risotto pan (and my favourite for many other things, too, such as bolognese sauce) for a number of years. I find the risotto rice cooks more evenly because the pan surface is bigger and it means there is not a big discrepancy between the rice on top and the rice closest to the heat. Non-stick makes it easier too.
Once the rice is cooking, you can normally move away from the stove top for a few minutes. Add a ladle of broth, stir, unload the dishwasher. Add another ladle and stir again and load the dishwasher. Again, the non-stick serving pan makes it easier.
You don’t need to worry about using raw eggs. The residual heat from the asparagus will cook the yolks and make them safe to eat. Please check that the eggs are fresh before you use them though.
A simple method of checking whether your eggs are fresh: Pour a glass of water and carefully drop your egg in. If the egg sinks and lays on its side, the egg is fresh. If the egg sinks but is upright, eat it soon. If it floats or doesn’t reach the bottom, the egg is not safe to eat.
The recipe also works well with bacon (as I did here), chicken, or just as it is. Again, both can be added to the pan to brown and cook with the rice, or they can be used as a ‘garnish’.
If you can’t get fresh asparagus and really want to have lemon risotto with asparagus, you can use a can or jar of green asparagus. However, this asparagus is more likely to break up if stirred too frequently and doesn’t really lend itself as a garnish, I would recommend that you add it to the risotto just before you add the cream. Stir gently.
Try some lemon risotto with asparagus this Spring!
Easy, delicious and can be adjusted easily to suit your diners: this lemon risotto with asparagus combines great Spring flavours and fresh ingredients.
Why not make some this Spring?
Lemon risotto with asparagus
- 2 small onions or 4 spring onions
- Approx. 50g butter
- 1 cup approx. 200g Arborio rice
- 500 ml chicken stock
- The rind and juice of one lemon organic if possible
- 2 egg yolks
- 200 ml single or pouring cream
- Grated parmesan approx. 50g
- 1 bunch of fresh green asparagus trimmed
- bacon or chicken pieces optional
- Dice the onions. Melt the butter in the pan on medium heat and add the onions.
- Turn the heat back down to medium before adding the rice. Stir until the rice is coated in the butter and starts to go slightly glassy.
- Add the stock one ladle at a time. When the first ladle goes in, stir well until all the rice has soaked up all the stock. Add more stock and stir. After that, you can almost ignore the risotto and only stir it occasionally, as you add the stock.
- Finely grate the lemon rind and add it to the risotto and mix well.
- Continue adding the stock to the rice until the rice has reached the desired consistency.
- Meanwhile, place the asparagus spears in a separate frying pan or grill pan, cook the asparagus in olive oil and/or butter until the asparagus is soft and lightly browned. If you are planning on using bacon or chicken as a garnish, brown it in the same pan. Place it in a bowl ready for serving.
- Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, add the cream and parmesan and mix together. Add salt and black pepper, then the juice from the lemon and mix well.
- Once the rice has reached the desired temperature, remove it from the heat and stir in the egg and lemon mixture until well combined.
- Top with the asparagus, chicken and/or bacon (if these are not already in the risotto) and serve.