Risotto with Asparagus and Lemon Creme Fraiche

IngredientsRice, Vegetables
Day PartDinner
Menu PartSide Dish
Cuisine TypeItalian

Chef Joanne Weir, cookbook author, teacher and restaurant owner, led a kitchen workshop showcasing the dishes from Alice Waters’ restaurant, Chez Panisse. Local asparagus and grated lemon zest brighten this risotto with fresh flavors.


1 lb. asparagus, ends removed, diagonally cut into 1-in. lengths
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups Italian Arborio rice
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup creme fraiche
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. lemon juice


  1. Bring 2 cups salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until almost tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking water. In saucepan, combine asparagus water, stock and 2 cups water; place over low heat.
  2. In large, deep saucepan over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add onions; cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add rice and stir until coated with oil and rice just begins to stick to bottom of pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is almost absorbed.
  3. Add a ladle of hot stock mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding hot stock, stirring constantly, until rice is just tender and not chalky, 20 to 25 minutes. Continue to add the stock for an additional 2 minutes, until rice is creamy and just beyond the chalky stage. (If you run out of stock, use hot water.)
  4. Remove saucepan from heat; add another ladleful of stock, butter, asparagus, half the Parmigiano and salt and pepper to taste. Stir quickly; cover and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes.
  5. In small bowl, combine creme fraiche, lemon zest and lemon juice; season with salt to taste. Set aside.
  6. After 5 minutes, stir the risotto and place in individual serving bowls. Dollop with a spoonful of lemon creme fraiche. Serve immediately, garnished with remaining Parmigiano.

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