1 c. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2" lengths ;
about 3 c. low-sodium chicken broth ;
salt to taste ;
freshly ground black pepper ;
2 tsp olive oil ;
1/3 c. diced onions ;
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined ;
1 clove garlic, minced ;
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest ;
1 c. Arborio rice ;
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
1. Cook asparagus in a pot of well salted, boiling water until it is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain. Transfer asparagus to a bowl of ice water. When asparagus is cool, drain and refrigerate. (This can be done ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 1 day.)
2. Heat stock in a saucepan, season well with salt and pepper, and keep hot over low heat.
3. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a separate medium-sized pot. Add onion, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until it turns translucent, about 5 minutes.
4. Turn heat to high, add shrimp and season with salt, pepper, garlic and lemon zest. Cook shrimp until they are just opaque, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate and set aside.
5. Add rice to the onions in the pot, stir and turn the heat to low. Add about 1 cup of the hot stock to rice mixture and stir slowly until the stock is all absorbed. Continue to add the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring slowly, letting the rice absorb all the stock before adding more.
6. The risotto is cooked when it is creamy on the outside and slightly firm (al dente) in the center, about 20 to 25 minutes in all. Stir in the shrimp, half of the Parmesan cheese and half of the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the risotto is too thick, add a little more stock and stir until it becomes creamy.
7. Divide the risotto into serving dishes and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and asparagus.