Celebrate spring with the tangy flavor of lemon in a baked lemon risotto featuring asparagus and peas.
Risotto is a great base to feature spring vegetables.
It’s the perfect side dish and is easy enough to adapt for a main meal.
It’s been cold and chilly this spring in Ohio yet we are eagerly anticipating spring.
The daffodils are struggling to bloom and we have seen a few snowflakes even though it’s officially spring.
I’m eager to plan my spring garden and I’ve been dreaming of asparagus and peas, the ideal spring vegetables.
Pairing them with a warm and creamy risotto is just the thing to warm things up.
Growing up I was never a fan of asparagus but it has grown on me and now it’s one of my favorite vegetables.
The best vegetables for this baked lemon risotto
It’s important to choose asparagus spears that are bright green and pencil-sized with a small head.
To avoid bitter asparagus you will want to make sure to choose fresh stalks and avoid overcooking it.
Asparagus absorbs the flavors of other vegetables, like garlic and onion, and is a perfect pair for lemon.
Simply trim the stems an inch or so and roast for no more than 10 minutes until they are just tender.
My kids are huge fans of peas. They are sweet and nothing like what I remember from my youth when they were overcooked and mushy.
The trick to the sweetest peas is picking them straight from the vine. If that’s not an option, buy frozen.
Make sure they are super sweet and simply allow them to thaw in a bit of cold water.
They will taste as if you picked them fresh from the garden. That’s it! Toss them into the risotto before serving.
Risotto is typically made on the stovetop and requires you to stay at the pot and continuously stir.
I prefer to bake my risotto as it allows me to do other things in the kitchen while the arborio rice is cooking.
If you wanted to turn this into a meal, grilled shrimp or chicken can be added to this risotto easily.
What to serve with this baked lemon risotto
Easy Baked Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Peas
- 1 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
- 15-20 asparagus spears
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1.5 cups chicken broth or stock
- 1.5 cups water, warm
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1 fresh lemon, juiced
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the asparagus spears on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil.
- In a large pot on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the onion, about 3-4 minutes. Add the uncooked rice to the onion mixture and give it a good stir for a minute. Pour in the wine and mix until the wine has been absorbed by the rice.
- Season with freshly ground black pepper. Pour chicken stock and water into the pot and stir to mix.
- Transfer the rice mixture to a baking dish and place the rice in the oven. Bake risotto until the liquid has been absorbed, for a total cooking time of 30 minutes.
- Add the baking sheet of asparagus to the oven for the last 10 minutes, and bake until the asparagus has roasted.
- Remove the risotto rice from the oven and add 1 tablespoon of butter, the lemon juice and the roasted asparagus and peas and stir gently to combine. Top the finished dish with the Parmesan cheese and fresh thyme leaves.
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