Colourful is the first word that pops into mind when you catch a glimpse of this dish. Grated fresh beets are cooked into the risotto as it slowly simmers, adding its vibrant colour and subtle sweetness. A sauté of mushrooms and fresh asparagus make this a hearty and perfectly spring-like main course.
For the risotto, heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the leeks and sauté until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and sauté for another minute, then add the wine and lemon juice, simmering while stirring until it has all been absorbed. Add 1 cup of the vegetable stock, the grated beets, thyme and tarragon and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Stir the rice frequently, adding the remaining stock, one cup at a time, after the previous addition has been fully absorbed. Season to taste and serve.
While the risotto is cooking, prepare the fricassee. Blanch the asparagus in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse to cool. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the leeks, mushrooms, thyme and tarragon and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the blanched asparagus to warm it through, season and add the lemon juice to taste. Serve the fricassee over the beet risotto.