1. Drain the asparagus, and working with 2 or 3 at a time, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch thick slices and then set aside. There should be about 2 cups.
2. Heat the chicken broth in a small saucepan until boiling, then adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the carrot and onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add the rice and saute, over low heat, stirring, 2 minutes more.
3. Add enough hot broth (about 1/2 cup) to just cover the rice. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook the rice, stirring constantly, until almost all the broth has been absorbed, about 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Add another ladle of broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the broth has been absorbed. Continue adding the broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, and cooking and stirring. Add the next ladleful when the broth is absorbed and the rice begins to pull away from the sides of the pan as it is stirred. Cook until the rice is creamy and firm but no chalky in the center when it is tasted. The total cooking time is 25 to 35 minutes or more.
5. Stir in the asparagus, lemon juice, and lemon zest during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, butter, and salt. Serve at once in soup plates. Serve extra cheese on the side. Makes 4 servings.
From Marie Simmons' Rice: The Amazing Grain.