Lemon and Roasted Asparagus Risotto-Style Orzo

Even though I started Saturday morning with a four hour math test, I grade this weekend A+++.  Perfect weather, good coffee, lots of time with Mike and Ellie, a run and brunch with good friends, and a lot of time in the kitchen; that’s pretty tough to beat.

We went to Hayes Valley on Saturday afternoon and got lattes at Ritual 

The people watching (and the DOG watching!) was fantastic and as always, the lattes were divine.  I’m not sure what Ellie was so focused on, but there was definitely a lot to look at.

Sunday morning started with a trip to the East Bay to meet up with a bunch of my favorite people for a run followed by brunch.

6 leisurely miles with Courtney felt a lot harder than it should have (and my right knee/hip were a little cranky) but it was soooo nice to run in the warm sun for a change.  I’m going to spend a lot of quality time with my foam roller this week, and within the next few weeks, I need to start a training plan for the San Francisco Marathon 2nd Half.  I’m hoping to smash my PR (1:39ish right now), but I haven’t picked a plan yet.  Anyone have suggestions?

I’m making the most of asparagus season, buying a bunch of it every week and roasting it to either eat plain or incorporate into our dinner.  I made this dish with whole-wheat orzo cooked like risotto (by adding a ladle of broth and stirring until it was absorbed), which is a little time-consuming but totally worth it.  A little lemon juice and zest, and a bunch of roasted asparagus make it perfect for Spring.

It’s great alongside my new favorite salad: lettuce, toasted almonds, red bell pepper, and goat cheese with a simple vinaigrette.

Lemon and Roasted Asparagus Risotto-Style Orzo


  • 1 bunch asparagus, washed and cut into 1" lengths
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 cups whole wheat orzo
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the asparagus with 2 tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of saltr and spread on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Heat the stock in a medium saucepan and keep at a simmer.
  4. Put the other two tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan and heat over medium.
  5. Add the shallot and cook for about 3 minutes, until soft.
  6. Add the orzo and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes until it is all coated with oil. Add the lemon zest and juice and half a cup of broth and cook, stirring, until the liquid is all absorbed.
  7. Add the remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it is almost entirely absorbed before adding more. Continue until the orzo is is tender (this will take 20-30 minutes and you may not need all the broth), then stir in the asparagus and Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper.

(adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

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