Lemon risotto with saffron and asparagus

Even though I am a writer, there are days I don't even want to think about creating stories, news articles (I am a journalist), or blog posts. Writing has a lot to do with feeling. They way you feel can inspire you to put down certain words. That means that there are also moments I can't wait to start writing. Today is one of those days. I could write three blog posts, but let's just start with this one. 

I just came back from a bloggers event in Amsterdam, organized by Fairtrade Netherlands and Clipper Teas. I really enjoyed being part of a group of inspiring people. Later this week I'll write a separate post about this workshop. I am very happy that my life has been so much more fun since I started For the Love of Pie. 

The rest of the weekend was pretty quiet. The weather is horrible lately. It rains day after day and currently there's even a storm. Pretty weird since Daylight Saving Time began yesterday and trees all over town are starting to bloom. So going into full hot chocolate mode feels kind of inappropriate. I did crave some serious comfort food though and I found the perfect recipe. Eat it in a bowl, on the couch (it's OK for once, really), whilst watching your favorite series. Like you don't care.

This risotto with lemon and saffron is Skye McAlpine's recipe. She's an unbelievable talented writer and cook and she shares her stories with the world on the blog From My Dining Table. Skye and her family live in Venice and here blog posts are accompanied by beautiful photos of the city. Risotto is one of my favorite Italian dishes. It so creamy and rich and very versatile as well. I adjusted her recipe only slightly and added asparagus, since it is spring you know. You wouldn't believe it looking outside my window, but warmer days are definitely on their way. I hope. 

Lemon risotto with saffron and asparagus

serves 4 |
Recipe adopted from From My Dining Table

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
400 gram arborio rice
125 ml white wine
700 ml vegetable stock
1 lemon
7 threads saffron
30 grams grated parmesan
30 grams butter
5 stalks asparagus


Drizzle oil into a saucepan. Add the onion and set on medium heat for five minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the stock in a separate pan and bring it to a boil.

Add the rice when the onion is translucent and soft. Stir constantly for the next three minutes. Make sure that the rice is coated by the oil. When the rice starts to make a crackling sound, pour in the white wine.  It is important that you keep stirring the whole time for the next 5-10 minutes. 

When the rice has soaked up all the liquid, add the stock gradually. A ladle at a time, and keep doing that for the next 30 minutes. All the while you have to keep stirring. It is a lot of work, but you will get a lovely creamy consistency. The rice releases starch when you keep it moving around. 

While your risotto is cooking, prepare the asparagus. Coat the stalks in a little oil and grill on a hot griddle pan until they are charred. Slice the tips off and set aside. Cut the rest into slices and add to the risotto.

Once you have added all the stock to the risotto, add the zest of a lemon. Cut the fruit in half and squeeze in its juice. Stir again. Add the saffron. Your risotto should get a yellow color right now. Make sure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. If so, add a little water.

Before you take the pot off the heat, stir in the butter and the grated parmesan. Season with some salt and pepper, add the asparagus tips and stir one more time before serving.