This asparagus risotto is easy and creamy and made with asparagus, Parmesan, shallots, garlic, butter, white wine, and Italian Arborio rice. A lovely spring riff on a traditional Italian classic in less than an hour.
This asparagus risotto is an easy spring riff on risotto that still manages to maintain all the rich, indulgent, creamy goodness of the Italian classic. Creamy rice is juxtaposed with spears of tender asparagus and flecks of fresh mint. A glass of wine in hand while you’re stirring makes the zen-like process all the more pleasant.–Angie Zoobkoff
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WHAT’S THE SECRET TO GOOD RISOTTO?
Risotto might seem like something that’s just for chefs or nonnas. But that’s not true. If we can do it, so can you, no matter what you’ve heard. But we do have a couple of tips to make it easier. First, heat that broth in a separate saucepan. Putting anything cold into your rice mixture will just slow the entire process. And we know that you’ve been told to stir constantly, but that’s actually not necessary and might, in fact, be too much. You want to keep things moving but don’t be overzealous as you’ll add too much air to the risotto and cool it down, which once again means you’ll end up taking longer than necessary.
Asparagus Risotto FAQs
Should I rinse my rice before preparing risotto?
Please don’t rinse! Risotto needs the rice’s starch to dissolve into and thicken the cooking liquid. Starch is the driving force behind risotto’s creamy, dreamy final texture. Rinsing can wash some of those necessary, valuable starches away, leaving you with… rice.
Can I use something besides arborio rice to make risotto?
Yes, as long as you remember that the amount of starch in your rice is critical to the success of your dish – so only medium or short-grain varieties of rice are suited for a proper risotto. Avoid any long-grain rices, like basmati or jasmine, as they don’t contain enough starch to achieve that creaminess. The most recommended short-grain varieties are Carnaroli, Arborio, and Vialone Nano. Of those, Arborio is the most widely available, and typically less than half the price of Carnaroli or Vialone Nano.
What can I add during cooking if I prefer to not use wine?
The best substitute for white wine is an equivalent amount of chicken broth with a few drops of lemon or lime juice. In this recipe, you’d simply add 1/2 cup of chicken broth with a couple of drops of lemon/lime juice in it in place of the wine in step two and reduce until the broth is absorbed – then move to step three. Avoid using any type of vinegar in place of wine, as that could ruin the taste of your final product.
- 10 1/2 ounces asparagus about 30 thin spears
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter
- 2 small shallots finely chopped
- 9 ounces risotto rice about 1 1/4 cups, such as Arborio
- 1/2 cup white wine such as sauvignon blanc
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 to 4 cups store-bought or homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese about 1/2 cup, grated
- Small handful fresh mint leaves finely chopped
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and toss them in the compost. Slice the asparagus spears on the diagonal into 1/2-inch (1-cm) lengths.
- In a large, wide saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the oil and butter. Add the shallots and rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots are softened and the rice is just beginning to color, 4 to 6 minutes. Pour in the wine, add the garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low, and gently cook until the wine is fully absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the stock.
- Now simply add a ladleful of stock at a time and stir almost constantly throughout the process. As you add your first ladleful of stock to the rice, you’re aiming for about 1/2 cup. Keep stirring almost constantly as it cooks. Only add the next ladleful of stock when the previous one has been almost completely absorbed—it’s this slow and gentle process that coaxes the risotto to creaminess.
- Cook the risotto, gradually adding a ladleful of stock as the previous one is almost completely absorbed, for 20 to 25 minutes. You’ll need to add a total of 3 to 4 cups stock. You’re looking for the risotto to be creamy but not runny and almost but not quite tender. Then stir in the asparagus and cook for 5 minutes more, adding more stock if needed. At this point, the risotto should be tender and creamy, and the asparagus should be tender but not mushy.
- Remove the saucepan or Dutch oven from the heat. Add the Parmesan and mint and use a wooden spoon to beat the risotto to ensure everything is well combined. Taste and, if desired, season with salt and/or pepper to taste. If you’d like the risotto to become a little less liquidy, cover and let it rest for a few minutes. Otherwise ladle it into serving dishes and prepare to accept compliments.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This asparagus risotto gets everything right. The rice is creamy and tender with just enough salty Parmesan. Adding the asparagus in the last few minutes of stirring ensures a perfectly done vegetable with just the right amount of bite to it and the fresh mint adds a final vibrant burst of flavour. Perfect.
A lovely, creamy risotto with tender crisp asparagus and fresh mint. I turned off the heat and covered the pot and let it sit for about 5 minutes after it was ready while I finished preparing the rest of my meal. The risotto was firm and creamy with individual grains of rice.
I did exactly what the beginning of this asparagus risotto recipe talks about. Made risotto slowly with a glass of wine in hand. It was a very pleasant experience. I’ve never made risotto before and I was very surprised by how good it tasted and how much easier it was than I thought.
I loved the texture of the risotto once completed. It was creamy and filling with a firm appearance. I used a sauvignon blanc. It was perfect. I like things a little more bitter than sweet so it added a great touch. I used about 12 thin spears of asparagus. If I were to change one thing, I might eliminate the mint or swap it for some rosemary or parsley. It just didn’t really add to the dish for me.
“This tastes like spring!” my husband said when we started eating this lovely asparagus risotto. I couldn’t have thought of a better description if I’d tried. Whether you’ve been digging out from under snowstorm after snowstorm after snowstorm or putting up with freezing temperatures or trying to stay dry after a very rainy winter, this dish is a sign that the sun will be shining, the birds will be chirping, and blossoms are starting to appear everywhere. It tastes fresh, clean, and bright.
Use the best of ingredients, especially the asparagus. Good springtime asparagus, if you can get it, is not in the least bit stringy. It’s a sign that spring is here and offers you all of the promise that entails.
This asparagus risotto recipe makes an excellent risotto—definitely one of the best risottos I’ve had.
The process is the standard method. From start to finish, it takes about an hour, all of which is hands-on time. The dish will serve 4 as a meal or more as a side dish. I used Chardonnay and I found that 3/4 cup of mint leaves is just the right amount for a subtle note of mint—not very pronounced but clearly discernable and a perfect complement to the asparagus.
This asparagus risotto is definitely worth making! The instructions were similar to other risotto recipes but we loved the addition of asparagus. After 25 to 35 minutes, the rice was tender and creamy and the asparagus was tender but not mushy.
The mint added an herbal flavor that we liked with the asparagus. Off the heat, the risotto stayed creamy and didn’t seem to firm up before serving. The recipe made 4 ample entrée servings. I added grilled shrimp right before serving.
If you’re a newbie to making risotto, I encourage you to try this asparagus risotto recipe! I’d never made risotto before and, frankly, I was always scared about making it. I’ve had my share of not-so-great risottos as well as wonderfully rich, creamy, and delicious dishes. And this is definitely the latter. Don’t let the mint throw you off. I was a little skeptical, but stayed true to the recipe and added the entire amount (though I was tempted to add much less). The mint added a bright freshness to the rich dish and was a welcome addition indeed.
I’ll be making this asparagus risotto again and again and now that asparagus season is soon upon us. This is the perfect recipe. The risotto was quite creamy and tender and really didn’t seem to firm up too much while in the plate.
This asparagus risotto is a spring dish that I’ll crave each year when I see asparagus showing up at the farmers market. The rice is creamy, cheesy comfort food and the asparagus is cooked to the point of firm tenderness. We had it as a side with a simple broiled salmon. The two went together beautifully and were easy to coordinate in terms of timing. I wasn’t completely sure about the mint in the risotto since mint can be such a strong flavor, but in this recipe it worked well.
This asparagus risotto recipe is fairly standard but the addition of asparagus and mint definitely gives it something extra. It’s a perfect recipe for spring. I let sit for a few minutes before serving. The final dish served 4 and was creamy, tender, and flavorful. It thickens up slightly after sitting a few minutes but only a little.
Risotto gets me every time. I love the heavy, plush texture and the comforting meal-in-a-bowl factor. This little asparagus risotto recipe has great directions to achieve this seemingly chef-y dish.
Depending on the rate of evaporation/absorption in your particular pan/heat source/kitchen, you may want to add a bit more stock. It matters less how much liquid you add; it’s more about continually adding it until the rice is done, about 25 minutes. I set a timer for 25 minutes once I started adding liquid. When the timer goes off, taste. If it’s done, I add one last drizzle of stock while I turn off the heat and stir in the finishing touches.
There was no mint to be found, so I used parsley. On tasting, it needed acid—a bit of lemon juice works great with asparagus so I gradually added the juice of one lemon half. This recipe could easily be adapted to any vegetable addition, like spinach, peas, even shredded or zucchini matchsticks would be great. I really liked these directions; a fully attainable risotto!
Originally published April 14, 2017