Highlighting Fresh Spring Asparagus
Do you love asparagus? Such a delicious and seasonal ingredient, I like to keep it simple and let this spring vegetable shine. After plain steamed asparagus with butter, this asparagus risotto recipe is my favourite way to enjoy it. Simple ingredients like lemon, fresh herbs and a touch of cream and parmesan make a vegetarian risotto fit for any night of the week.
How To Make Risotto
Making risotto is easy and meditative. Slowly sauteing shallot and garlic until fragrant. Add the rice and wine then add the stock in ½ c increments, stirring and watching as they simmer and meld together. Keeping your stock warm in a pot on the stove (or in a microwave safe measuring cup) keeps your rice at a simmer when adding in your stock throughout cooking.
How Much To Stir Risotto And Why
Risotto requires stirring to create the traditional creamy texture but you don't have to stir constantly. You can work on your salad or making a cocktail while this cooks nearby, giving it a stir every few minutes.
What To Eat With Risotto
Risotto can be a side dish or your main course. This recipe is vegetarian is lovely paired with a crisp salad like Garden Salad with Orange Vinaigrette or Crisp Apple Celery Salad. If you'd like to make this your side dish, try Miso Baked Salmon or Nicoise Salad with Fresh Tuna for a main dish.
How To Grow Your Own Asparagus
It’s the start of asparagus season on Vancouver Island! Asparagus takes awhile to get established (2 years for a good harvest if you've planted crowns, 4 if you start with the seeds!) but is very rewarding once you do. A perennial, it peeks up every spring with very little care required. Depending what variety you choose, they can be hearty to Zone 2 so you should be able to grow them anywhere on the British Columbia coast and of course south into Washington and Oregon. Once you get a bed established, it can produce for up to 20 years!
My favourite gardening guide has great info on growing it, check out West Coast Seeds for more detailed information on when to plant and how to care for.
Asparagus Growing Tips
Try to keep your asparagus bed as weed free as you can because it doesn’t like competition but don't weed too deep and disturb the roots. As a beginner gardener, I mistakenly planted my strawberry patch right next to my asparagus bed and now I am forever pulling out strawberry runners. Oopsy. The season can vary from 4 to 8 weeks in early to late spring once established.
A Few More Recipes To Use Asparagus
I eat a lot of asparagus when it's in season. I love it simply steamed, roasted with lemon and parmesan cheese or with hollandaise. So many delicious ways to enjoy this crisp, sweet and herbaceous tasting vegetable.
Lemon Asparagus Risotto
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 medium Shallot, finely diced
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 1 c Arborio Rice (or other short grain rice)
- ¼ c Dry White Wine
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 3 ½ c Vegetable Stock, heated
- 1 Lemon, zest and juice
- 2 c Asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
- ¼ c Parley, finely chopped
- ¼ c Chives, finely chopped
- ½ c Parmesan Cheese, grated
- c Heavy Cream
- Salt and Pepper
- In a large pan with high sides heat olive oil on medium low, add shallot and garlic and cook gently until translucent.
- Stir in rice, wine and bay leaf.
- Start adding in stock ½ c at a time stirring every few minutes and adding more stock as it becomes absorbed.
- After 20 minutes when the rice is nearly done, add in the lemon zest, juice, asparagus and herbs and stir gently.
- Add in parmesan and cream and cook, stirring gently 5 more minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve in bowls and garnish with chives and more freshly grated parmesan cheese and pepper