Asparagus Brown Rice Risotto with Lemon and Parmesan

Jul 5th

A fresh yet indulgent (seeming) vegetarian (if you use vegetable broth) main or side dish – perfect with grilled fish/chicken/pork. I dug into a gigantic bowl of this with a big smile that never faded and found that I was full until bedtime thanks to the heaps of fiber.

Here’s the deal with risotto. It’s the name of a finished dish that is usually made with arborio rice. Arborio rice is a very fat grain of white rice that, when cooked, becomes creamy. Poor risotto always gets a bad rap for being “rich” when I’ve never actually encountered a recipe that uses any cream. Yes, some sort of cheese usually pulls it all together, but as parmesan is a sharply flavored cheese a little bit can go a long way. Well this recipe is a risotto of sorts as it uses your typical brown rice (FYI did you know that rice is a seed, not a grain?).  More filling from the fiber but for whatever reason, just as creamy.

Whenever I use lemon I find that I need little to no salt – the bright flavor somehow makes salt seem unnecessary, and if you’ve been making my recipes you know that salt is my friend. I heart salt. Not much else to say here, except that my daughter ate a bowl of this and the next morning when I changed her diaper I smelled something weird, only to realize it was her asparagus pee! I know I shouldn’t have shared that but I think asparagus pee is so funny!

Asparagus Brown Rice Risotto

Serves 2 as a main course, 4-6 as a side

3 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1 bunch scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 c. brown rice

4 c. chicken broth (or vegetable, if making vegetarian)

1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp. lemon zest (about 1/2 a lemon)

1-2 tbsp. lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)

1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1. In a large deep skillet, saute garlic and scallion whites/light green in parts olive oil for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the rice until evenly coated with oil.

2. Add 1 c. chicken broth and simmer until absorbed, about 8 minutes.

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3. Add the rest of the broth and simmer, stirring occasionally, partially covered, until liquid is almost absorbed, about 25 minutes. There should still be visible liquid when you stir in the asparagus.

4. Stir in asparagus and cook, covered, until asparagus is slightly tender and liquid, about 3-5 minutes. If at any point you’re worried that the rice seems dry, just add a splash of water. If the rice is done but there is still liquid, just cook it a little longer.

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5. Remove pan from heat and add lemon zest, juice, cheese, and pepper. Stir to combine.

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6. Serve, garnished with scallion greens and additional cheese, if desired.

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