Asparagus, Spring Pea, & Lemon Risotto

This zesty risotto has some of our favorite spring produce highlighted by a fresh lemon flavor. This butter-free version gets its flavor from lemon olive oil and good quality Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
3/4 lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, finely diced
12 oz. Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable if you are vegetarian)
2 tablespoons We Olive lemon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile prepare a bath of ice water. Season the water generously with kosher salt. (It should taste like seawater). Blanch the asparagus in the salted boiling water for 90 seconds and then add the peas. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds to one minute, until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Drain the cooked vegetables and then plunge into the ice water bath to shock them. Shocking stops them from cooking further and sets the bright green color. Drain and set aside.

2. In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced shallot and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir until well-coated, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add 1/2 cup of the stock and stirring frequently until the stock is absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup of stock and repeat the process. The mixture should be simmering gently, not boiling. Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender and creamy.

3. Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the olive oil, lemon juice, and cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and more lemon juice if desired. Stir in the cooked asparagus and peas. Divide the risotto among four bowls and drizzle with a touch of lemon olive oil to serve.

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