RECIPE: Asparagus Risotto

Summer is here and finding delicious recipes for all of your farmer’s market impulse purchases may be challenging. Risotto is the perfect dish to learn how to master because the combination of ingredients you can incorporate into a risotto are endless. It is best to use fibrous (or tough) vegetables like asparagus, mushrooms, artichokes, or kale so that they will retain their texture when cooked in a thick dish like risotto. If you use a vegetable like eggplant for example, it will not hold its shape and the texture of the dish will be too mushy. One of the many reasons I love making risotto is that it requires few ingredients, making this a cheap and deceivingly simple meal.

It’s simple because of the limited ingredients and cooking time (approx. 25 mins) but it requires constant stirring throughout the entire process. Because the cooking liquid is added in parts,stirring allows the starch in the arborio rice to gradually release and create the creamy texture that characterizes this dish. It’s a dish of love.

Asparagus Risotto

[yields 6 servings]

– 2 cups Arborio rice

– 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock (or broth)

– 1 large onion, small dice

– 3 garlic cloves, minced

– 3 tablespoons butter

– parmesan cheese, grated

– Asparagus, bunch

– Salt and Pepper, to taste


1. Sweat garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter in a large sauce pan. Add the chopped onions and sweat until translucent. Season with salt. Add more butter if necessary.

2. Add arborio rice and toast with the butter, garlic and onions until a toasted armoma becomes evident.

3. Add 1/3 of the vegetable or chicken stock and stir with wooden spoon until 75% of the cooking liquid is absorbed. This should take 4-6 minutes over medium heat. Add the remaining stock in 2 parts using the same guidelines. Do not increase the heat above medium. The risotto needs time to cook and release its starches. If you hurry the process, the rice will not cook properly and turn out like conventional (and undercooked) rice.

4. When the texture of the risotto is nearly finished, add your par-cooked vegetables. The asparagus needs to be partially blanched (or boiled) before adding it to the risotto to ensure that it is fully cooked and palatable. For a more refined look, cut the asparagus on a bias into 2 inch pieces, like this:

5. Finish the dish with grated parmesan cheese and butter, if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!

BONUS Wine pairing suggestion: 2010 Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Sauvignon Blanc ($16)




2 Responses to RECIPE: Asparagus Risotto

  1. Nancy McEwen says:

    When I make risotto I always add HOT stock. If the stock is cold or room temperature it seems to set back the process. That said it probably comes out about the same.

    Asparagus risotto is fine but my personal favorite is prosciutto and peas. The prosciutto can be minced or sliced or torn. Toss in a cup or two of frozen baby peas about a minute before serving. Yum yum.

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