6 Tablspoon avocado or grapeseed oil, divided
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 Tablspoon coarse Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups Riceland Medium Grain White Rice
2 cups water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
3 Tablspoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
Pesto Sauce Ingredients
3 packed cups fresh basil
1 packed cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 Tablspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoons coarse Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/3 - 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes, or until transparent.
- Add 2 more tablespoons of oil and the rice to the dutch oven. Cook, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes or until the rice begins to smell slightly toasty. Stir in vegetable broth, cover very tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake until the rice is tender and cooked through, about 65-70 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, prepare the asparagus. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the asparagus, and cook 1-2 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the asparagus well. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Once the asparagus has chilled and drained, place in the hot skillet, with salt and pepper, to taste.
- While the risotto is continuing to cook, make the pesto sauce. Place all pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse. Scrape down the bowl and add more olive oil, if needed. Turn on the food processor, and puree until herbs are chopped, scraping down the bowl of the food processor as needed.
- To finish the risotto, remove the pot of rice from the oven. Add water, wine, parmesan cheese, butter and lemon zest. Stir vigorously for 2-3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Gently stir in 1/2 cup of the pesto sauce until just combined.
- Divide risotto among 4-6 bowls. Top with asparagus and more parmesan cheese, if desired.
NOTE: If you do not have a food processor, you can use a blender. Your sauce may look more pureed than chopped, but either way will work just fine.
NOTE: You can add more or less pesto, if desired.
NOTE on the pesto: You will likely have pesto sauce leftover. To keep it from turning brown, place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pesto. Keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. You may also place it in a freezer safe container and freeze up to one month.