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This asparagus risotto transforms simple ingredients into a creamy, luxurious dish! Roasted asparagus, zingy lemon and shaved Parmesan make a satisfying meal that’s perfect any night of the week.

Asparagus risotto garnished with Parmesan cheese shavings and pinenuts.

Creamy, savory, crunchy, and zingy: this asparagus risotto is truly sublime. Alex and I are craving fresh flavors over here, and this fancy yet simple dinner is the perfect antidote: the perfect spring recipe!

Roast asparagus with lemon at the same time that you’re stirring up a creamy risotto on the stovetop. Then throw the tender bright green asparagus into the risotto, right along with the lemon. You’ll wish the pot would never end—we certainly did!

  • “We made the asparagus risotto tonight and it was SO SO SO good! I was surprised at how much lemon flavor it had from roasting the lemons with the asparagus. We had to keep ourselves from eating the whole thing in one dinner!” -Connie
  • “It was so delicious. It was creamy and tangy and the asparagus was perfect!” -Karen

Key ingredients in asparagus risotto

You’ll need a handful of simple ingredients for this asparagus risotto. The flavors are crisp and pure. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White arborio rice: Arborio rice is a short-grain Italian variety that releases its starches gradually while cooking, creating the creamy, signature texture of risotto. You should be able to find it at most grocery stores. Avoid substituting any other variety of rice in this recipe.
  • Asparagus: Look for thin to medium thick spears, which have a mild, sweet flavor.
  • Broth and dry white wine: White wine is essential to the nuanced flavor. If you prefer, you can substitute more broth for the wine.
  • Lemon: Fresh lemon infuses a citrus zingy.
  • Parmesan cheese: Cheese infuses the dish with savory notes.
  • Toasted pine nuts: This Italian-style garnish steps up the flavor; here’s how to toast pine nuts. Olive oil, butter, onion, and garlic powder round out the flavors in this dish.
Asparagus risotto in pot with lemon slices.

How to make risotto: step by step

Making risotto is actually quite simple! It’s just a matter of slow cooking short grain rice with broth until it becomes extraordinarily creamy. When we first started cooking, we thought risotto was something that came out of a box marked “risotto.” Turns out, it’s just a special way to cook arborio rice. Here are the basic steps (for exact steps and quantities, go to the full recipe below).

Roasted asparagus

Step 1: Trim the asparagus, and mix with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Place it on a lined baking sheet with lemon wheels and roast at 425°F for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender.

Risotto Recipe

Step 2: Heat olive oil and the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add minced onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Add the garlic powder and rice and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid is fully absorbed.

Asparagus risotto

Step 3: Add 2 ladles of warmed broth and cook, stirring until the liquid is absorbed, then add 2 more ladles. Continue cooking and adding broth in the same manner for about 12 minutes until creamy but still al dente. Reduce the heat, add 2 more ladles of broth, the Parmesan cheese, and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes.

Once you’ve got a thick and creamy risotto, stir in the asparagus and roasted lemon wedges and serve immediately.

Asparagus risotto on plate with pot in background.

What to serve with risotto

Sometimes it’s hard to decide how to make risotto into a full meal, especially if it’s vegetarian. Accessorizing with a salad makes for a filling vegetarian dinner. Here are a few ideas for what to serve with risotto:

Storing leftovers

This asparagus risotto is best the day it is made. You can store leftovers refrigerated in a sealed container for 3 days, but the color of the asparagus will fade. Reheat gently on the stovetop before serving.

Tip: If you love risotto, make sure to try our Classic Risotto, Butternut Squash Risotto, Mushroom Risotto, and Creamy Shrimp Risotto.

A few more asparagus recipes

Want more ways to use this healthy green stalk? Here are some asparagus recipes to add to your repertoire:

Dietary notes

This asparagus risotto recipe is vegetarian (with vegetarian Parmesan cheese) and gluten-free.

What if I don’t have arborio rice?

While arborio rice is ideal for its creamy texture. Wait until you have time to access this variety before making risotto.

Is white wine essential?

The white wine adds acidity and depth of flavor, but you can omit it for a non-alcoholic version. Simply substitute vegetable broth for the wine.

My risotto seems too dry. What can I do?

Risotto is all about gradual addition of broth. If your risotto seems dry, simply add a bit more hot broth, one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly, until it reaches the desired creamy consistency.

How can I add more protein to my risotto?

For a heartier meal, stir in sauteed shrimp or diced pancetta with the asparagus.

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Asparagus risotto

Best Asparagus Risotto


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 1x

Description

This asparagus risotto transforms simple ingredients into a creamy, luxurious dish! Roasted asparagus, zingy lemon and shaved Parmesan make a satisfying meal that’s perfect any night of the week.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lemon (Zest from half, plus 4 slices from the other half)
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups white arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional garnish: Toasted pine nuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Heat the broth: Combine the broth, water, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a saucepan and place it over low heat. (You’ll use this warmed broth to stir into the risotto).
  3. Cut the vegetables: Mince the onion, then place it in a bowl and reserve. Cut off the tough bottom ends of the asparagus and then cut them into two-inch pieces.
  4. Prep the asparagus: Add the asparagus stalks to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle them with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then sprinkle on ½ teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add the zest of ½ lemon and mix with your hands. Thinly slice 2 lemon wheels, then cut each in half and add them right on the tray.
  5. Start the risotto: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and the 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Add the garlic powder and rice and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes until the rice starts to turn light brown. Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid is fully absorbed.
  6. Roast the asparagus: Place the tray with the asparagus in the oven and 10 to 15 minutes, until bright green and tender when pierced by a fork at the thickest part. The timing will depend on the thickness of the asparagus spears. (You’ll remove it from the oven while you’re cooking the risotto in the next step.)
  7. Meanwhile, cook the risotto: Add two ladles of the hot broth to the risotto. Cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is fully absorbed, then add two more ladles of broth. Cook in this same manner for about 12 minutes, adding two ladles and stirring. After the 12 minutes, taste a grain of rice. If it’s creamy but still al dente in the center, you’re ready for the final step! If not, continue to cook and add broth for a few minutes more.
  8. Finish the risotto: When the rice is al dente, reduce the heat to low. Add two more ladles of broth, the Parmesan cheese and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes until you’ve got a thick and creamy risotto. Then stir in the asparagus and roasted lemon wedges and serve immediately. Stores refrigerated in a sealed container for 3 days, though the color of the asparagus will fade (reheat before serving).
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Asparagus risotto

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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2 Comments

  1. This was the easiest risotto we’ve ever made! Very tasty and I think it was easier because the recipe called for using a large skillet, which I think helped the rice to absorb the liquid quicker. Very good!