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1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced yellow onion (1/2-inch dice)
1 1/2 cups long-grained white rice
3 cups water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon slice (1 inch thick)
1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
1 pound fresh asparagus
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat the olive in a medium saucepan, add the onion, and cook until the onion softens, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and toast the grains, stirring occasionally, until the rice begins to look opaque (bright white), about 4 minutes. Add the water, butter, lemon slice, and lemon zest, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice off the tough ends of the asparagus stalks and discard them. Cut the spears on a diagonal into 1-inch lengths. Fill a large nonreactive pot filled with a steamer rack with 1/2 inch water, place the pot over medium heat, and bring the water to a simmer. Add the asparagus, cover, and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the cooked rice to a serving bowl and toss in the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper and serve.