Thursday, July 01, 2010

Lemon and Herb Risotto with Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

Lemon Herb Risotto with Roasted Asparagus (0003) by MeetaK   

The air in the house is cool and refreshing. I let out a slight sigh. The weather outside is hot, sticky and sunny and thankfully the house remains cool throughout the few heat waves Germany experiences during the year. And while they are so few, I enjoy them to the fullest.  

You won’t find me complaining about the scorching sun. After having lived in the Middle East for several years I know what scorching really means. Nor will I moan about it being sticky and humid. Summer is here – finally and this year she took her time to come around.

Instead I kick off my flip flops, pull out my hammock and enjoy the endless long days. Short skirts, picnics by the stream, barbeques and ice cream – it’s time to enjoy this wonderful time of the year and all the pleasures summer brings along with it. I know it’s not going to last.
 Herb Diptych (01) by MeetaK

The patio doors are wide open and the house fills with the sounds of chirping birds, a distant lawn mower, giggles from the girls and cheering from the boys playing out on the street. Somewhere I hear someone practicing the violin and as a bee buzzes by and a pigeon coos, I close my eyes and allow this summer concerto to encase me in it’s musical glory.

Evening and the table is set outside. A light salad made with fresh vegetables, fruit and a crumbling of soft goat cheese starts off the meal. Colorful and light. The glasses are filled with a refreshing, chilled sparkling wine, my lips craving the coolness of the liquid.

A summer tangy and herby risotto follows, accompanied by roasted balsamic asparagus. And as I realize this is probably the last of the delicate vegetable, my heart sinks slightly. Before I know it, summer will be evanescing and taking away all the pleasurable moments with her. So, I enjoy this warm, lulling interval before I am gripped by the cold hands of winter again.

The talk is about our vacation and we chatter enthusiastically about what we want to see, do and experience. We read out loud to each other from travel books and magazine articles and I get excited seeing the stunning pictures of the beautiful landscape.

Our destination is Norway. We’re packing the camper and will be off for a two week road-trip to this breathtaking country. I’ve always wanted to see Norway and to really experience this country up close is to get on the road and feel, live and be a part of Norway.

We have planned an ambitious route but the comfort of traveling with a “home on wheels” is that you can simply modify the route as you go along.

Looking forward to the famous fish market in Bergen, trekking to the Prekestolen, kayaking on the Hardangerfjord, experiencing the majestic Nigardsbreen and enjoying the lifestyle in Oslo. Action pure! You can tell I am excited can’t you?

My camera will accompany me almost everywhere so when I return I shall take you all on a visual tour with me.

Lemon Herb Risotto with Roasted Asparagus (0001) by MeetaK

In the meantime, I am inviting you to a leisurely, light summer meal of a wonderfully flavored lemon and herb risotto, served with roasted asparagus, which is then drizzled in some aged balsamic vinegar and pumpkin seed oil.

Lemon and Herb Risotto with Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

Printable version of recipe here

Ingredients

For the risotto

1 l stock/broth, use chicken or vegetable, whatever you have in store
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely cubed
1 small parsnip, finely cubed
400g Risotto rice
250 ml dry white wine - if cooking for kids substitute this with more stock
salt and fresh cracked pepper
70 g butter
120g parmesan – grated
2 lemons, zest and juice
a bunch mixed herbs of choice, finely chopped (I used, thyme, rosemary, mint, chervil and chives)
fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper

For the roasted asparagus

2 bunches green asparagus, woody ends removed and discarded and cut into thirds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
pinch of fleur de sell
1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil
1 tablespoon good aged balsamic vinegar, use on that has been aged for at least a minimum of 10 years

 

Method

For the risotto

  1. Bring the stock to a boil. In a separate pot heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil together and add the chopped onion, garlic, carrot and parsnip. On a low heat sauté very gently for 15 minutes until the flavors have combined and caramelized. Be careful and do not allow them to take on color. Add the rice and increase the heat.

  2. Keep stirring the rice while it cooks and takes on a glassy color - approx. 1 minute. At this point add the wine (or stock) and as it bubbles, allow the rice infuse with the wonderful aroma.

  3. Once this has evaporated and the rice begins to get dry add a ladle full of stock. Stir well and add a touch of salt. Reduce the temperature so that the mixture bubbles gently. Now, keep adding the stock, a ladle at a time, and allow the rice to soak this up, stirring every now and then. When the rice has soaked the liquid add another ladle full. By "massaging" the rice this way you release the creamy starch from the rice giving the dish a fantastic consistency. This whole process takes approx. 15 minutes. The rice grains should be soft but still have a slight crunch to them. Now add a bit of salt and pepper, but be careful as the stock is normally salty enough - so please taste before!

  4. Take the pot off the heat and add 70g butter, lemon zest, herbs and parmesan cheese. Mix well and cover. Allow the rice to take on all the flavors - 2 minutes. Giving the risotto this time allows it to unfold it's perfect creamy-moist consistency. Check and adjust seasoning.

For the roasted asparagus

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

  2. In a large bowl toss asparagus with olive oil, garlic and sea salt. Spread the asparagus out onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the asparagus are cooked but still have a good bite to them.

  3. Remove from heat and drizzle the roasted asparagus with the pumpkin seed oil and a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar.

  4. Serve the asparagus with the risotto immediately. Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the top and enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine.

 

The Food Guide Tips:

- Tips and tricks on how to make a basic risotto

- How healthy are asparagus really for you?
- Refreshing, zingy and totally healthy lemons

 

 

 


Verdict

Lemon Herb Risotto with Roasted Asparagus (0008) by MeetaK

A perfect harmony of summer flavors served in a simple yet refreshing dish. Lemon and herbs complement each other so perfectly and the wonderful flavors of asparagus adds another level boosting this dish to new levels.

So, I wish you a wonderful, warm summer as I take a break from this space and travel to the land of beautiful fjords, gorgeous mountains and sexy studmuffins.

Take care!

More mouthwatering risotto ideas from WFLH:

Pumpkin Risotto with Shrimps Sweet Spiced Risotto with Cherry Compote Risotto with Rucola & Bresaola

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2010 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

34 comments :

  1. This risotto looks apt for summer. Tangy and light with the goodness of roasted asparagus. Yum!

    Enjoy your road trip!Looking forward to seeing the Visual Tour of Norway. I am one of those girls who finds every country in Europe fascinating.In one word, Europhile.Having lived in the US for almost 15 yrs, I am raring to emigrate "across the pond", doesn't necessarily have to be UK, but reality is I can't.So occasional trips and visual tours will have to do.

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  2. Great post! the risotto looks lovely. Perfect to sit outside and enjoy the heat! I agree, when you've lived somewhere REALLY hot, you have a little more perspective in the summer.

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  3. I can't believe that the day after I a) bought a pack of risotto rice, wondering what to make, b) found this fantastic blog and bookmarked it, YOU decide a) to post a risotto recepie, b) to travel to my home country. It's got to be fate! The risotto looks wonderful, and I even think my kids would love this (the boy is rather picky). If you need any help when you are around Bergen, just shout and I'll be there :D

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  4. What a refined risotto! Those flavors are magnificent. Those shots are particularly beautiful

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. That looks delectable! It's nice to see a risotto that's not gooey-looking.....cos that kind of puts me off......I must try this one!

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  6. Ohh...meeta..perfect summer food..have fun chica and do get back with loads of pics!

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  7. I love risotto, it's my favourite mantra thing to get better: whip it, whip it, whip it.. and you get better, forgetting all your blues and thoughts! Lemony things are one of my recent favourites as well!

    Enjoy your long desired holidays, I can't wait to see the result of your photographic tour!!
    Hugs!
    Giulia

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  8. Oh my... It's a bitter winter here in SA and I would happily eat that for dinner tonight!
    Robyn

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  9. This looks like the perfect risotto! Love the addition of parsnip, one of my favs!

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  10. Did you know my favorite flavor is lemon when you made this? Love the simle flavors, but the end result is simply awesome!!

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  11. You can't beat asparagus at this time of year, looks lovely Meeta.
    Have a great holiday, and don't forget to buy some cloudberry jam in Bergen. Looking forward to your photos.

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  12. What a lovely post. Sounds as if you enjoy every moment, how wise. Have to give this recipe a try it really looks wonderful.

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  13. I can visualize each and every line you describe about summer.. It feels like lotsa fun. The rissoto looks so perfect for this summer heat. Have a safe and fun filled trip. I am just waiting for my chance to visit this beautiful continent..

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  14. The Risotto looks fabulous..have a nice vacation..looking forward to your vacation photos

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  15. Gorgeous summery risotto Meeta! I love it! You really capture that al fresco dining feeling with your pictures and writing. Enjoy Norway! I look forward to reading all about it!

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  16. Have fun and I too am excited on reading your description on Norway.Can't wait for pics.The risotto is perfect for summer.Love the lemony aroma especially in summer.Never tried balsamic +asparagus.Yum

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  17. We'll miss you, sister! Don't do anything I wouldn't do and you know what that means. Well, ok, what the heck... take care and eat well and enjoy every single moment. Meanwhile, this perfect summer meal has me dreaming...

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  18. I am completely with you Meeta. Every minute of summer must be savoured. No complaining about the heat from me either. Not that we get a huge amount of it in the UK. But fortunately this summer has been beautiful so far. I love evening meals outside and this looks like the perfect dish to do it with. Just made my first risotto a few weeks ago and loved it. Had thought it would be much harder than was. Thanks for sharing this recipe and have a great break! Hx

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  19. What a lovely way to bring a comforting winter dish into the warmth of summer! I think I'll make plans to make this soon!

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  20. ooops.second time that I am trying to post it. Lost the previous comment somehow - wandering fingers on the keyboard. This rice dish is fabulous. such beautiful ingredients put together. I am saving the recipe. BTW, do know of any nice electronic way of 'bookmarking'recipes? I tend to copy them. Back to your post, I love the picture of the herbs. Can kind of picture your back yard.The weather at my neck of the woods continues lovely. Hot, muggy..I am so glad that summer is finally here. God knows how long it is going to last. I will be looking forward to hearing about your trip to Norway. I am planning a trip to Oslo myself. After being in Denmark I just fell in love with that part of the world and plan on visiting it more and more.Have a wonderful time.I love road trips - haven't made one in a long time.

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  21. Beautiful pictures and lovely Risotto. Like your garden and the Rosemary shrubs.

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  22. what a wonderful-sounding and looking summer recipe. yum! ;-)

    paz

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  23. Wow, what a lovely summer meal!! Your trip to Norway sounds like a wonderful adventure, can't wait to see the photos. :)

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  24. Have fun in Norway, Meeta! THe risotto looks lovely. I love how you've described summer in your town.

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  25. The pictures of this risotto are like a summery sigh. I hope you have a wonderful time in Norway and can't wait to hear about it when you get back.

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  26. Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence. It supplies in significant amounts for a healthy diet.

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  27. What a beautiful risotto. The pictures are stunning! Enjoy your vacation :)

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  28. That looks like such a beautiful risotto Meeta and perfect for a hot summerday such as today! Now I know what I will be eating tonight!

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  29. When I was little I hated asparagus, I'd like to think I've become older and wiser as I now look forward to its arrival in the garden and then on my plate. Looks great Meeta!

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  30. Meeta, this looks absolutely fantastic. And the excellent photography makes my mouth water that much more profusely :)

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  31. "The patio doors are wide open and the house fills with the sounds of chirping birds, a distant lawn mower, giggles from the girls and cheering from the boys playing out on the street. Somewhere I hear someone practicing the violin and as a bee buzzes by and a pigeon coos, I close my eyes and allow this summer concerto to encase me in it’s musical glory"

    Oh my goodness Meeta, you have the ability to transport me to where and when you are, not just with your food, but your descriptions of the moment. THIS is why you are bookmarked in my reader, not just wonderful recipes, great photos, a genuine love of both food and travel, but the ability to place your reader in the moment with you - THANK YOU!!

    Can't wait to try the risotto :)

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  32. This looks divine! With a couple of bunches of fresh asparagus in the fridge just waiting to be used, I believe I've found a dish to surprise my husband with this evening. Thank you for this post.

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  33. Thanks everyone for all your comments! Glad you are enjoying this.

    Hope you come back and tell me how it tasted!

    I am also very happy to hear that I can share the moment I am in with you through my words. It means a lot to me for you to be here with me and as I can only do it virtually with pictures and words it makes my day knowing that you can picture the moment.

    Thank you!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta