Lemon and Herb Risotto with Balsamic Roasted Asparagus


For the risotto

1 l stock/broth, use chicken or vegetable, whatever you have in store

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 small carrot, finely cubed

1 small parsnip, finely cubed

400g Risotto rice

250 ml dry white wine - if cooking for kids substitute this with more stock

salt and fresh cracked pepper

70 g butter

120g parmesan – grated

2 lemons, zest and juice

a bunch mixed herbs of choice, finely chopped (I used, thyme, rosemary, mint, chervil and chives)

fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper

For the roasted asparagus

2 bunches green asparagus, woody ends removed and discarded and cut into thirds

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

pinch of fleur de sell

1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil

1 tablespoon good aged balsamic vinegar, use on that has been aged for at least a minimum of 10 years


For the risotto

  1. Bring the stock to a boil. In a separate pot heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil together and add the chopped onion, garlic, carrot and parsnip. On a low heat sauté very gently for 15 minutes until the flavors have combined and caramelized. Be careful and do not allow them to take on color. Add the rice and increase the heat.
  2. Keep stirring the rice while it cooks and takes on a glassy color - approx. 1 minute. At this point add the wine (or stock) and as it bubbles, allow the rice infuse with the wonderful aroma.
  3. Once this has evaporated and the rice begins to get dry add a ladle full of stock. Stir well and add a touch of salt. Reduce the temperature so that the mixture bubbles gently. Now, keep adding the stock, a ladle at a time, and allow the rice to soak this up, stirring every now and then. When the rice has soaked the liquid add another ladle full. By "massaging" the rice this way you release the creamy starch from the rice giving the dish a fantastic consistency. This whole process takes approx. 15 minutes. The rice grains should be soft but still have a slight crunch to them. Now add a bit of salt and pepper, but be careful as the stock is normally salty enough - so please taste before!
  4. Take the pot off the heat and add 70g butter, lemon zest, herbs and parmesan cheese. Mix well and cover. Allow the rice to take on all the flavors - 2 minutes. Giving the risotto this time allows it to unfold it's perfect creamy-moist consistency. Check and adjust seasoning.

For the roasted asparagus

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. In a large bowl toss asparagus with olive oil, garlic and sea salt. Spread the asparagus out onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the asparagus are cooked but still have a good bite to them.
  3. Remove from heat and drizzle the roasted asparagus with the pumpkin seed oil and a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar.
  4. Serve the asparagus with the risotto immediately. Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the top and enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine.

The Food Guide Tips:

- Tips and tricks on how to make a ' target=_blank>basic risotto

- How healthy are asparagus really for you?

- Refreshing, zingy and totally healthy lemons

All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2010 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | If you are interested in using my texts or photographs please contact me | You may not use my work for commercial purposes without my permission | You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work in any form | Please Ask First