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Asparagus Risotto

Makes 4 servings

Use a mixture of yellow and red tomatoes in this dish to give it a festive look.

6 cups Vegetable Broth, divided
2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 - 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups dry arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and bias cut into 1-inch pieces
1 juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil,* divided
2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1 salt, to taste
1 white pepper, to taste

Heat broth over low heat. Have a ladle handy.

Heat oil in a large, wide skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onion, garlic, and rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice begins to brown. Do not let more than one-tenth of the rice brown. Add wine and cook, stirring, until the rice absorbs the liquid. Add 1 cup of the broth. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until most of the broth is absorbed. Do not allow the rice to brown or stick to the pan. Continue adding the broth, 1 cup at a time, and cook until it is nearly all absorbed. When adding the last cup of broth, add the asparagus.

When the broth is absorbed and the asparagus is just tender, remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, half the zest, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon basil, tarragon, and tomato. Mix gently so the asparagus doesn't fall apart. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

Divide the risotto among four large, shallow bowls. Garnish with the remaining basil and top with some lemon zest. Drizzle a teaspoon or so of the olive oil. Serve immediately.

*For a lower-fat version, skip drizzling the final dish with additional olive oil.

Per serving (1/4 of recipe)

  • Calories: 536
  • Fat: 22.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.2 g
  • Calories from Fat: 37.5%
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 71.1 g
  • Sugar: 5.8 g
  • Fiber: 2.6 g
  • Sodium: 1661 mg
  • Calcium: 64 mg
  • Iron: 3.8 mg
  • Vitamin C: 13.6 mg
  • Beta Carotene: 1332 mcg
  • Vitamin E: 4.1 mg

Source: TJ's Restaurant & Lounge, Richmond, Virginia. Published in Best in the World II, Jennifer Keller, R.D., editor.