One of my favorite recipes to make, especially during the summer, is Lemony Risotto with Asparagus, Carrots, and Chives, from One Pan, Two Plates by Carla Snyder. I love the concept of this cookbook, it’s full of quick recipes that can be made in one pan (for the most part) and will serve two people. There is a good mix of recipes and they use a lot of healthy, fresh ingredients. I like the Lemony Risotto because it is very easy to make, is filling, and has a nice balance of flavors. I have slightly adapted the recipe to suit my tastes and pantry ingredients.
About 3 cups chicken broth (optional)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced (I leave these out)
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
15 slender asparagus spears, tough woody ends snapped off, cut into 1-in pieces (I just use an entire bundle)
1 carrot, peeled and grated (I use a handful or two of peeled baby carrots)
1 lemon, zested and then halved
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
1 tbsp minced fresh chives (I use Fines Herbes if I don’t have fresh chives)
In a 12-in skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots (if using) and cook until they begin to soften, 1 minute or so. Add the rice and 1/2 tsp salt and saute until the rice is opaque and smells toasty, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the liquid evaporates, about 1 minute.
Reduce the heat to medium low. Add about 1/2 cup of the heated water/ chicken broth to the rice and continue cooking until the rice starts to look creamy. Stir occasionally, and when the water is mostly absorbed, add another 1/2 cup. Continue cooking, stirring, and adding.
After about 10 minutes of cooking (I usually lose track of time, but cook until the risotto is about halfway done), add the asparagus, carrot, and lemon zest.
Continue to cook the risotto the same way, adding more water when the liquid is evaporated and stirring occasionally. I usually have to add more than 1/2 cup each time at this point, you want to make sure all the vegetables get cooked. Cook until the rice and vegetables are tender, about 7-8 minutes.
Add the Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. If you’re using the cream, add it now as well (it gives the risotto a nice rich flavor). Squeeze the lemon juice onto the risotto and stir until mixed. Garnish with chives and a sprinkling of Parmesan.
And that’s it! A quick and easy recipe for two! The lemon and asparagus pair nicely with the risotto, and the carrots add a great burst of color. This Lemony Risotto is a great recipe full of summery flavors, and it’s quite filling. Total cooking time is about 30-35 minutes, and pretty much the only prep is cutting the asparagus, zesting the lemon, and grating the carrots and cheese.
I really like this cookbook. It’s great because it lists the time needed for each recipe and has suggestions for wine pairings and ideas for side dishes/ ways to beef up the dish if you’re feeling extra hungry. I’ve always had leftovers, but I haven’t been swimming in extra food. You can buy it here.