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Weeknight Lemon Asparagus "risotto"

After experiencing the magic of a delicious homemade risotto, I decided to create a quick, weeknight version made with orzo pasta. This version with lemon and asparagus has quickly become a household favorite!

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Servings: 4

Prep Time: 00:10

Cook Time: 00:30

Main Ingredients

6 tbsp butter (or olive oil)

3/4 c sweet onion, diced

2 Cloves garlic, minced

2 cups orzo

6 cups low sodium vegetable stock

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 Bunch fresh asparagus, chopped into - inch pieces

1 1/2 tsp dried parsley

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

shredded parmesan cheese, for serving

Preparation

1In a large sauté pan, melt butter (or heat olive oil) over medium heat.

2While pan is heating, chop onion and mince garlic. Wash and chop asparagus into 1-inch pieces.

3Meanwhile, add stock to saucepan and slowly bring to a boil

4Add onion to the pan and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then, add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

5Next, add orzo to the pan and sauté approximately 5 minutes, until golden brown and slightly fragrant. Use a spoon or spatula while sauteeing to make sure all the pasta is evenly coated with the butter or oil.

6Slowly pour boiling stock into the pan; you may want to use a spoon or ladle for this step. Then, add 1 1/2 tsp salt.

7Increase heat to medium-high and simmer uncovered, being sure to stir often. Set timer for 18 minutes.

8At the 12 minute mark, add asparagus and 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley to the mixture.

9Continue to stir frequently and simmer until the orzo becomes tender and the "risotto" mixture is creamy with all liquid absorbed.

10Remove from heat, add lemon juice, and stir. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Additional Notes

Sauteed mushrooms added in the last 4-5 minutes of cooking make a great addition to this dish and add some delicious umami flavor. This recipe makes a wonderful vegetarian main dish, and it is also delicious served as a side with chicken!

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