Asparagus Risotto

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My bees are in overdrive, the garden is thriving and the chickens are producing like crazy, but I am making risotto.

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A lot of people get intimidated by the thought of making risotto. Fears of slaving over a pot, stirring, unable to leave for hours.  It’s all too much.  Better saved for a restaurant meal.

Risotto is actually quite easy to make and the homemade version can be so much healthier than any restaurant version.  This risotto is made with whole grain brown rice rather than arborio rice, a fancy name for white rice.  I also control what goes in my risotto.  For this version, I used asparagus, which is very much in season right now. At a restaurant, you have no idea how much salt and other ingredients have gone into your dish.  Here, you have control. Your homemade version will always have less.

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Yes, making risotto takes a bit of stirring but not as much as you might imagine.  In our ultra busy, distracted lives, standing over a pot, gently stirring rice can be a welcome change of pace, and so delicious.

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Asparagus Risotto

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

5 cups homemade vegetable stock, low sodium chicken stock or water
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup short grain brown rice
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 pound asparagus, ends cut off and chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

1. In a saucepan, heat the stock and keep at a simmer. Keep it close by on the stove.

2. In a soup pot, saute the scallions and garlic with the salt and pepper in the oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add in the brown rice and stir, coating the rice in the oil, another 30 seconds.

3. Add in the white wine and simmer until the wine is totally absorbed, stirring occasionally.

4. Using one cup at a time, add in the stock to the rice. Keeping it on a strong simmer, stir occasionally until the stock is absorbed. You don’t need to be constantly stirring but keep an eye on the pot.

5. Stir in the next cup of stock. Continue stirring occasionally and adding more stock, about 40 minutes (you might not use all the stock, taste it at this point, the rice should taste chewy but firm).

6. Add in the asparagus and lemon zest and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, until the asparagus is tender crisp.

7. Remove the rice from the heat and add in the parmesan and lemon juice. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot.

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