Creamy Lemon Risotto with Asparagus
- 1 Lb Asparagus, Ends Trimmed
- 1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Shallot, Finely Chopped
- 3 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
- 2 Cups Arborio or Carnaroli Rice
- Fine Sea Salt
- Freshly Ground Pepper
- 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
- 6 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth, Heated to a Simmer
- 2 Tsp Finely Grated Lemon Zest
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- 2 Tbsp Minced Fresh Parsley
Place the asparagus in a steamer basket and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Cover and steam until the spears are crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces and set aside.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. When the butter has melted, add the shallot and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme sprigs and cook until the shallot is softened and translucent, about 3 minutes longer.
Add the rice and 1 tsp. salt to the pan, stirring to coat the grains of rice with the butter and oil. Raise the heat to medium-high, pour in the wine and stir until absorbed. Reduce the heat to medium and add a ladleful of the hot broth. Cook, stirring often, until the broth is absorbed. Reduce the heat to medium-low if necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue to cook the risotto, adding the broth a ladleful at a time and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender but still pleasantly chewy, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the reserved asparagus, lemon zest, heavy cream and cheese. Then stir in the lemon juice and a final ladleful of broth to achieve a creamy texture. The risotto should not be too stiff or too runny; it should mound softly on a spoon. Sprinkle with the parsley, season with pepper and serve immediately.