When I think Spring vegetables, asparagus is the first one that comes to my mind. So, when I decided to make a gluten-free, vegan risotto for Easter, asparagus seemed like a natural choice. Just to be sure though, I posed the question on our Facebook, and the response was pro asparagus.
I have to admit that while I like asparagus, it’s not the most economical vegetable for me to buy — I love the “tips,” but hate the rest of it. And, I use the term “tips” loosely — I always cut it right at the bottom of the tip and disregard the rest. When I was little, my Mom would steam them, drizzle olive oil it with a little garlic salt. I’d eat the tips and she would eat the rest.
After receiving several “faces” from family members when I told them the type of risotto I was making, I really wanted this to be something everyone would like. So, this asparagus lemon risotto has a mild asparagus flavor with a slight lemon aftertaste.
If you are cooking for a crowd that likes asparagus, I would increase the chopped stems to two or three cups and add the juice of half another lemon.
1.75 pounds asparagus
1 lemon, juiced
1 onion chopped
5 cloves garlic
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4-5 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
In a pot, heat all the vegetable stock, except 1 cup, until it comes to a boil and then lower.
Chop up the onions and garlic. Cut off the tips of the asparagus, rinse and set aside. Cut an inch off the bottom of the asparagus stems.
Starting with the tip end, chop 1-2 cups of the stems in small pieces — about 1/8 of an inch.
Add the chopped pieces and one cup vegetable broth to a blender. Puree until the asparagus is in tiny pieces. Add the mixture to rest of the vegetable broth already heating.
Juice your lemon and set aside.
In a large pot, heat the oil. Saute the onions and garlic until soft, and lower heat to make sure they don’t burn. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add the asparagus tips and stir gently. After about a minute or two, add the lemon juice. Adding the lemon juice at an early stage will help it cook into juice and really bring out the flavor.
Cook for about 2-3 minutes stirring consistently. Add the wine and continue to cook for about a minute. Stir in the rice and gently mix to coat the rice with the veggies and liquid already in the pot.
Once the liquid in the pot is absorbed, add the hot vegetable broth by ladle-fulls, stirring until it’s absorbed and then adding another ladle. Repeat until the vegetable broth is finished and the rice is plump and soft. (There have been several times I needed to heat more broth while cooking so that I could add it. So, it’s good to have extra vegetable broth on hand)
Much of what I cook can be reheated and taken to work the next day or even reheated for dinner again. This however, is one of those rare occasions a dish does not taste good reheated.