Forget about the misconception that Risotto is one of those fussy side dishes that takes constant hand-son attention to turn out creamy and delicious. A microwave is the secret shortcut that makes my recipe for Asparagus Lemon Thyme Risotto so much less labor intensive . . . and actually ridiculously easy! Whip up this quick-fix side dish in 30 minutes or less and pair with your favorite protein – the zesty lemon-thyme flavor pairs well with fish and chicken.
Arborio rice (from Northern Italy) is the go-to grain when it comes to making risotto by any method. This medium-grain rice has a high starch content which renders out during cooking to create that signature comforting, creamy texture. Do not rise the rice off beforehand, that removes the important starches. I’ve also added some of the season’s finest produce including delicate, tender asparagus tips and vibrant lemons to make the dish sing “Spring”!
Toasting the rice, sautéing veggies, adding liquid bit by bit and near constant stirring means being practically chained to the stove when making risotto the old-school way. However, these time-honored steps have been translated for the microwave, with only 30-seconds increments of stirring here and there, to create less mess and more time for getting the remainder of dinner done. Another plus, only a single dish gets messy – use a 2-quart glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl equivalent. Pro tip: don’t use container less than 2 quarts, the contents will boil over and create a sticky mess in the microwave.
Don’t like asparagus? No worries as this recipe is easily adaptable with other vegetables – try spinach, mushrooms, peas, carrots or broccoli.