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4 slices of preserved lemon, chopped, or substitute fresh lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil
One pound of asparagus (thinner will be more delicate)
1.5 quarts of vegetable broth or chicken stock
3 small shallots, chopped
1/2 bulb of fennel, finely chopped
2 cups of riso carnaroli or arborio rice
1.5 cups of white wine (I prefer an un-oaked one)
1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat your oven to 400°F and toss the lemon, asparagus, and a generous quantity of olive oil and place on a sheet pan. In a stockpot heat the vegetable broth over low heat.
Meanwhile, coat a large sauté pan with oil (2 to 3 tablespoons) and heat over medium heat. Add the shallots and fennel, a pinch of nipitella, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until softened and lightly browned, 7-8 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the rice and gently stir it until the rice has turned a bit clear, is fragrant, and absorbs the oil in the pan. It will take about 5 minutes. Check your asparagus to see how it is progressing.
Add a cup of the broth, stir well, and spread the rice in an even layer. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. Let sit, then gently stir. When the broth is almost entirely absorbed, add another cup. The asparagus should be finished at this point. Remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly before you chop it into bite-sized pieces.
Keep adding the broth in small quantities until the rice is almost al dente. When you are almost out of broth add 1 cup of wine to the broth pot and add this to the risotto in one or two additions.
Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of wine and then the Parmesan and asparagus pieces. The rice should be al dente and the whole mixture should be quite loose. Plate and garnish with additional nipitella and olive oil.