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Lemon Risotto with Roasted Asparagus

  • Author: Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Additional Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Rice / Risotto
  • Cuisine: Italian


Units Scale
  • 2 cups Italian Arborio OR Carnaroli Rice (better)
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 shallots, finely chopped OR 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth (homemade is best), heated through to a simmer
  • 1 lb. thin asparagus, ends snapped off
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay)
  • 1 cup parmigiano cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup pecorino cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup fontina cheese, finely grated
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • zest of one large lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, stems removed and minced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Extra butter and extra virgin olive oil for cooking where indicated.
  • Garnish: Lemon zest, Italian Parsley, and Thyme


  1. Prep all ingredients that need to be cut, chopped, minced, grated, etc.
  2. Set all ingredients to the side in pre-measured bowls/cups, etc.
  3. In a large pot, heat the chicken broth to a very hot simmer and don't allow it to go cold. It must be hot to blend into the risotto.
  4. While the broth is heating:
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  6. In a baking pan, pour 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Place the asparagus with the ends snapped off in the baking pan and roll around until all of the asparagus is covered with olive oil. Roast for 5 minutes. Do not over-roast because the cooking continues in the hot risotto and you don't want mushy asparagus. Set aside and when cool, slice into ½ inch pieces.
  7. In a large flat frying pan with tall sides, melt 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil. Add and gently heat the scallions and garlic (keeping an eye on the garlic because it burns easily) until they are translucent for about 5 minutes.
  8. On medium heat, add the wine and stir it into the rice until it is completely absorbed, stirring constantly. It will begin to look creamy.
  9. Now add one cup or a large ladle of chicken broth AT A TIME, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed into the rice each time. When absorbed, add another cup or ladle and stir until completely absorbed. Repeat this until all broth is added and absorbed.
  10. When completely absorbed, add the cream and 2 Tbsp. of butter. Stir constantly until completely absorbed into the rice. The risotto should have a slight firmness to the tooth, 'al dente', not hard and not soft.
  11. Add all of the grated cheese and stir to incorporate.
  12. Add the lemon juice and grated lemon rind.
  13. Taste and see if more cheese is needed, if it needs cream, or if it needs salt and pepper.
  14. Gently stir in the asparagus, Italian parsley, and thyme.
  15. Allow the risotto to rest for 2 minutes in order to swell up while absorbing all of the flavors.
  16. Garnish with minced Italian parsley, chives, or rosemary.
  17. Pass around freshly grated Parmigiano and Pecorino cheese.

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