The Easiest Ever Cheesy Asparagus Risotto

risotto-embedPhotographed by Erin Phraner.
We’re no strangers to dinner à la microwave (zap-able burritos, boxed macaroni and cheese, the occasional healthy find). In fact, we love our countertop cookers and we’re proud of it! There are roughly one bazillion things you can cook in the microwave, including fancy favorites like risotto.
That’s right: This labor-intensive, stir-it-forever dish can easily be made at the push of a button and it requires almost none of your attention. Asparagus, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese give this quick meal a ton of flavor. Feeling lazy? Swap fresh asparagus for frozen spears — thaw ‘em by stirring into the risotto before the final five minutes of cooking.
Easy Cheesy Asparagus Risotto
Serves: 2 (or 1 with leftovers!)
1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 cup Arborio rice
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
2 cups hot water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus lots more for serving
Ground pepper for topping
1. Cut the tips off the asparagus and slice the stalks into rounds. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl.
2. Add one tablespoon water, cover with vented plastic wrap, and microwave on high for two minutes or until tender. Drain and pat dry on a paper-towel lined plate.
3. Add the rice and olive oil to the same bowl and stir until coated. Microwave for one minute.
4. Stir in the broth, hot water, and salt. Microwave for about 15 minutes, stirring twice, or until liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
5. Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave. Stir in the asparagus, lemon zest, and Parmesan.
6. Top with pepper and more Parmesan cheese (and then maybe some more) to taste.

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