Meyer lemon risotto with green asparagus

Meyer lemon risotto with green asparagus









Even before our container arrived at our new Sunnyvale house, I had bought an orange & a lemon tree for the terrace. Without even knowing that this was a special lemon variety I had chosen a Meyer lemon tree and went on experimenting. Easy in a place like California where ingredient choice is limitless and all my favourite things like artichokes, green asparagus & (the outside of Europe extremely rare) white asparagus, tiny potatoes, mesclun & the latest fashionable greens are at your fingertips. And so this risotto came about and it is still one of our most loved recipes & the top-of-the-heap of the lemon trials. Green asparagus is incorporated in the Meyer lemony (zest & juice) risotto and the tasty tips that would fall to pieces if they were in it are seared in a pan to add another texture and flavour to the dish. Upgrade the creamy-ness with grated Parmigiano (no need to add a ton of butter) and you have a wonderful (vegetarian) supper. Add extra shavings of cheese or a few slices of Parma ham for an impressive dinner version.

I might have lamented already the comparative cheapness of green asparagus in the States when faced with the gingerly harvested & accordingly priced bunches of the first local green asparagus but this risotto is sooo worth it.


What do I do if I don’t have a Meyer lemon? If you can’t get Meyer lemons where you live (not that easy outside the U.S. and even the trees are hard to find in Europe), just mix the juices and the zest (separately) of both an organic lemon & organic mandarin/tangerine/clementine to get to an approximation of the warm lemony taste without the extreme sourness as I have done here, too.

Deutsches Rezept unten.



Meyer lemon risotto with green asparagus risotto
for 2

1.5l good stock (chicken or vegetable), you may not need all of it
1lb or 500g green asparagus
olive oil
1 knob of butter
1 shallot, minced
1 small glass of white wine (about 100-150ml, preferably a crisp & slightly acidic Riesling)
170g risotto rice (Carnaroli or Arborio)
juice and zest of 1 Meyer lemon
50g Parmigiano reggiano

Bring the stock to a slow simmer and keep it this way next to the designated risotto pot. Prep the asparagus: peel the hard skin of the lower third of the asparagus spear, cut into 1.5 cm pieces until you reach the upper third with the tip and put those aside. If you have thin & thicker asparagus, cut up the thicker ones and leave the thin ones for frying. While you are cooking the risotto, slowly fry the asparagus tips or thin spears in medium hot pan with a little olive oil until browned.
For the risotto melt the butter over medium heat, sweat the minced shallot until translucent then add the risotto rice. Stir for about 3 minutes or so until the rice grains show a shiny shimmer, deglaze with a generous splash of white wine and when the rice has absorbed it add a ladle of stock. Stir from time to time and add more stock each time the previous ladle has been absorbed. You might not need to use all the stock but better safe than sorry.
Do not let the risotto get completely dry, always add the stock when the rice still seems to be quite moist. Try the rice a few times: it should still have some bite before you add the asparagus pieces (depending on your rice this might take about 15-20 minutes). Stir in the small asparagus pieces & Meyer lemon zest and cook for another 5-7 minutes not forgetting pouring in the stock at intervals. Finally round of the risotto with the parmesan, season with Meyer lemon juice to taste (I use the whole) and possibly a little salt right before the end. Serve with the pan-fried asparagus on top. If you have a little Parma ham on your hand, add a few slices for an equally good combination & even more luxurious plate.



Risotto mit Meyer Zitronen & grünem Spargel
für 2 Personen

1,5l gute Brühe (Hühner- oder Gemüsebrühe)
1 Pfund grüner Spargel
ein Stückchen Butter
1 Schalotte, fein gewürfelt
1 kleines Glas Weißwein (100-150ml, Riesling oder ein anderer Wein mit angenehm frischer Säure)
170g Risottoreis (Carnaroli oder Arborio)
Saft und abgeriebene Schale einer Meyer Zitrone (alternativ Mischung aus Zitrone & Clementine)
50g Parmigiano Reggiano

Zuerst die Brühe zum Kochen bringen, neben dem designierten Risottotopf platzieren und auf kleiner Flamme leise weiter köcheln lassen. Dann den Spargel vorbereiten: die Enden schälen um die holzige dicke Haut zu entfernen und die Stangen bis zum obersten Drittel in 1,5 cm große Stückchen schneiden. Das Spitzenstück ganz lassen und beiseite legen. Sollte man dünne und dicke Stangen haben, dann die dünnsten ganz lassen und die dickeren aufschneiden. Während das Risotto kocht, ein wenig Olivenöl in einer Pfanne über mittlerer Hitze erwärmen und die Spargelspitzen darin rundherum langsam anbraten.
Für das Risotto die Butter in einem Topf mittlerer Größe bei leichter bis mittlerer Hitze schmelzen lassen und die Schalotten darin glasig andünsten, sie sollten keine Farbe annehmen. Den Risottoreis hinzugeben und für ein paar Minuten anschwitzen bis der Reis schimmert, dann mit dem Weißwein ablöschen. Wenn beinahe die gesamte Flüssigkeit verdampft ist, eine Kelle Brühe hinzugeben. Ab und zu umrühren und immer wieder die Brühe kellenweise hinzugeben – der Reis sollte niemals trocken werden. Gelegentlich probieren und wenn der Reis noch etwas Biß hat (das dauert ca. 15-20 Minuten, kommt auf den Reis etc. an) die Spargelstückchen & die Zitronenschale unterrühren und die letzten 5-7 Minuten mitgaren. Abschließend den Parmesan hinzugeben und mit Zitronensaft & Salz abschmecken. Mit den gebratenen Spargelspitzen servieren. Falls etwas Parmaschinken zur Hand ist, passt der auch ganz wunderbar dazu.


2 thoughts on “Meyer lemon risotto with green asparagus

  1. Very nice simple risotto recipe. Meyer lemons are the superior varietal, aren’t they! Never had lemon in risotto before and it makes perfect sense with the asparagus and parmigiano reggiano.

    • Totally, green asparagus, lemon & parmesan are an unbeatable trio. You have got to try lemon risotto: the Meyer adds a pleasant mellow lemon taste where an ordinary one is quite sharp, though still really nice. N.

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