Meyer lemon risotto with asparagus


This is such a springtime and summertime dish đŸ™‚
I love using fresh ingredients when the warm weather hits. Usually risotto dishes can be a little on the heavy side, but not this one. This one tastes so light and is so delicious on a warm day. The meyer lemons give it a nice citrus flavor that really compliments the fresh asparagus. If you are not familiar with meyer lemons, they are sort of a combination between an orange and a lemon. They are sweeter than a regular lemon so this dish is not tart at all. This recipe is adapted from the Conscious Cook, but I made a few slight adjustments which I will note below.

Ingredients:
* Sea salt
* 1 pound asparagus, bottoms trimmed, cut on the bias into 1-inch pieces
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 shallots, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, chopped
* 2 cups Arborio rice ( I used brown rice to up the nutritional value of the recipe)
* 1 cup plus a splash of dry white wine
* 6 cups vegetable stock
* Grated zest of 3 Meyer lemons
* 1/4 cup thick Cashew cream (optional) *see note
* 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
* Juice of 2 Meyer lemons
* 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (I didn’t have any on hand so I just omitted them)

Directions:
Fill a small pot with water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water for 1 minute, then chill in an ice bath, drain, and sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place a large saute pan with steep sides over medium heat. Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute. Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. This will create a nonstick effect.

Add the shallots and saute for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add a pinch of salt and the rice and saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 1 cup wine and cook, stirring constantly, until it has been completely absorbed and evaporated. Add the stock, 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring after each addition until all the liquid is absorbed; it should take about 30 minutes to add the stock. As you cook the rice, season periodically with salt and pepper, tasting after each addition.

Fold in the lemon zest, Cashew Cream and nutritional yeast (if using), the asparagus, and a splash of wine and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes, until the asparagus is heated through and the risotto is thick and creamy.

Remove from the heat and gently stir in the lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning as necessary. Serve immediately with a few toasted pine nuts sprinkled on top.

Makes 6 servings

Prep time: 45 minutes

*Cashew cream is so amazing. To make, cover raw (not roasted) cashews with water in a bowl. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to use drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Place the soaked cashews in a blender or food processor and add just enough water to cover. Blend the mixture until smooth. Cashew cream is a great addition to soups, stews, smoothies, pasta dishes, etc to add creaminess without adding flavor. In this recipe it takes the place of adding cream or cheese to the dish.

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