Asparagus Risotto

This flavor-packed asparagus risotto pairs creamy arborio rice with Parmesan and lemony roasted asparagus. A true crowd pleaser!

Asparagus risotto

Creamy, savory, crunchy, and zingy: this asparagus risotto is truly sublime. Otherwise known as, the best way to usher in spring! Alex and I are craving fresh flavors over here, and this fancy yet simple dinner is the perfect antidote. Roast up some 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!).

What’s 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: a short-grain Italian rice used for making risotto
  • Asparagus
  • Broth and dry white wine: wine is essential to the nuanced flavor!
  • Lemon: fresh lemon pairs perfectly with asparagus
  • Parmesan cheese: brings just the right savory notes
  • Olive oil, butter, onion, garlic powder: For flavoring
  • Toasted pine nuts: step it up with this Italian-style garnish (here’s how to toast them)
Asparagus risotto

The keys to making risotto

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 Alex and I first started cooking, I remember thinking that risotto was something that came out of a box marked “risotto”. Turns out, it’s just a special way to cook arborio rice.

  • Use arborio rice. Make sure to find short-grain white arborio rice for this recipe. You should be able to find it at most grocery stores. This variety of rice becomes plump
  • Heat the broth first. Start with warm broth (this recipe uses some water too, so you don’t have to buy more than 1 quart). This helps it to cook right into the warm rice without lowering the temperature of the food.
  • Add warm broth 2 ladles at a time and stir until integrated. That’s all you have to do! Once the broth cooks into the rice, add another two ladles.
  • Cook until creamy & al dente, then add Parm. Keep cooking this way until the rice is creamy but still a bit al dente (with a little bite in the center). It should take about 12 minutes. Then add the Parmesan cheese and stir vigorously for 2 minutes.
Asparagus risotto

How to cook the asparagus: roast it!

While that risotto is bubbling, you’ll roast up a pan of asparagus until it’s tender. We love that this veggie adds fiber to the risotto, making it more filling and nutritious! How to cook asparagus? Use the concept from our Roasted Asparagus. It’s so easy: just about 10 minutes in a very hot oven makes it perfectly tender. Here are some tips on the asparagus side of this risotto:

  • Prep the pan and have it ready to go while making the risotto. You’ll prep everything and get your pan of asparagus ready, then start the risotto. Because…
  • Time it so the asparagus finishes just as the risotto does. When the asparagus comes out of the oven, it’s perfectly bright green and tender. You’ll want to catch it just at that point so it’s at its brightest color when you serve. Overcooking the asparagus makes it turn a drab green color.
  • Leftovers lose the color in the asparagus: but still taste good! The asparagus will fade to a yellow green color in leftovers. But they still taste wonderful: they’re just not showy for serving to guests.
Roasted asparagus

Why to make this asparagus risotto

This risotto is the absolute perfect spring recipe, filled with bright green fresh and tangy flavors! Of course, you can also serve it any season you can find good asparagus. A few recipe testers tried this recipe for us: here’s what they had to say!

  • “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
Best Asparagus risotto

What to serve with risotto

Sometimes it’s hard to decide how to make risotto into a full meal (Alex and I have been there)! Accessorizing with a salad makes for a healthy vegetarian dinner. Of course, it want to add crunchy, savory garlic bread we won’t judge! Here are a few ideas for what to serve with risotto:

  • Easy Arugula Salad Here’s the simplest salad you’ll ever make! This easy arugula salad is fool-proof: you don’t even need to make dressing.
  • Classic Garlic Bread It’s crunchy on top, chewy on the inside, and full of flavor: the perfect side to go with pasta or tomato soup.
  • Garlic Toast Or, go quick and easy with the tastiest, most garlicky baguette toasts!
  • Fennel Orange Salad A fancy and refreshing side dish! It pairs juicy orange and the subtle licorice essence of fennel with a citrus vinaigrette.

PS if you love risotto, make sure to try our Butternut Squash Risotto, Mushroom Risotto, Roasted Cauliflower Risotto and Parmesan Risotto.

This asparagus risotto recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Asparagus risotto

Best Asparagus Risotto


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

Description

This flavor-packed asparagus risotto pairs creamy arborio rice with Parmesan and lemony roasted asparagus. A true crowd pleaser!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 1/2 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
  • 1/4 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 degrees Fahrenheit.
  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 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add the zest of 1/2 lemon and mix with your hands. Thinly slice 2 lemon wheels from the lemon, 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 both. 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

Keywords: Asparagus risotto

More asparagus recipes

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

  • Asparagus Salad with Feta Bursting with flavor and totally versatile! It highlights sauteed asparagus with lemon, radishes, feta, and a Dijon dressing.
  • Shaved Asparagus Salad Ever tried asparagus raw? It tastes mild and sweet! Eat it as shaved asparagus salad, which pairs the ribbons with a tangy lemon vinaigrette and Parmesan.
  • Easy Baked Asparagus An easy side dish that’s a hit with everyone. The green stalks are roasted until tender, spritzed with lemon & topped with Parmesan.
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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