Spring is finally in the air and the first of the fresh seasonal vegetables are showing up in our markets. I eat asparagus in all ways possible as long as it is fresh, usually throughout the month of April here in Maryland.  This delicious pasta dish is well worth the wait and satisfies a hungry appetite. Asparagus in an excellent source of vitamin K, C, and E in addition to being high in fiber and potassium and also a natural diuretic.  This risotto can be topped with shrimp, lobster, or scallops if you would like some added protein to your dish.  


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 leaks, white part only, cleaned and chopped

1 large fennel bulb, cleaned and chopped

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

2/3 cups dry white wine

4-5 cups simmering chicken or vegetable stock

1 pound asparagus trimmed and cup into 1 inch pieces then blanched for five minutes (drain and cool)

10 ounces fresh or frozen peas (defrosted)

zest from one lime, zest from one lemon

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2/3 cups fresh grated parmesan

sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Heat oil on medium heat in large surface deep saucepan.  Add leaks and fennel and saute  for 5-7 minutes.  Add rice, cook for one minute before adding white wine.  Simmer until wine is absorbed.  Add chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time stirring almost continuously, waiting for the stock to be absorbed.  When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes add asparagus, peas, lemon zest, lime zest, lime juice and fresh pepper.  Continue adding stock until all stock is absorbed and rice is tender but still firm. (this should take about 25 minutes)

Right before serving add parmesan, chives, and additional salt if necessary.  Serve immediately with additional parmesan for topping.  Enjoy!




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