Asparagus Risotto

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.

A plate and a bowl of asparagus risotto with a fork resting beside the bowl.

Adapted from Flora Shedden | Gatherings | Mitchell Beazley, 2017

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

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

A plate and a bowl of asparagus risotto with a fork resting beside the bowl.
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.
Flora Shedden

Prep 15 mins
Cook 25 mins
Total 40 mins
Entree
Italian
6 servings
269 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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Ingredients 

  • 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

Directions
 

  • 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.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 269kcal (13%)Carbohydrates: 38g (13%)Protein: 6g (12%)Fat: 8g (12%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mg (3%)Sodium: 510mg (22%)Potassium: 278mg (8%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 476IU (10%)Vitamin C: 12mg (15%)Calcium: 84mg (8%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

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.


Originally published April 14, 2017

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Comments

  1. I use my Nonna and mom’s “broth.”

    Peel the asparagus, set aside the woody ends, cut off the tips and set aside, then cut the rest of the stock into 1/2” bits.

    First I blanch the tips, remove and cool down BUT Don’t dump the water! Blanch the 1/2” bits in the same water. Chill & don’t dump the water. I add the woodies and boil hard, reduce the heat, leave the woodies in there to continue giving goodness to the water. That’s the “broth” I use. This broth “free” and further enhanced the asparagus flavour.

    At clean-up, I throw the peels from the asparagus into the pot with the woodies & give them a quick boil, adding water to cover if necessary. When it’s cooled down, I drain it and feed it to the chickens. Everyone at my place loves asparagus!

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