A simple and creamy asparagus risotto that only takes a few key ingredients to make. It makes the perfect weekend or date night dinner for novices and seasoned cooks alike.
I love risotto, but it one dish that I would only eat at a very good restaurant. It is amazing when done well, but basically inedible when something goes wrong. For the longest time I thought risotto was one of those dishes that I could never make at home. Then I was put in a position where I had to make my own about a year ago when I received a risotto as the only vegetarian option from a meal subscription service I occasionally use. I was so nervous I held it off until I couldn’t anymore. I read through the instructions about 20 times and watched a few videos of people making risotto online.
As it turns out, making risotto isn’t as hard as you may think, which really makes me question the restaurants that get it oh so very wrong. Sure, there is some skill in making sure you get the pan just hot enough without making it too hot, but that’s not terribly difficult. More than anything though, it just takes a bit of patience and following directions well. I like to think this is a great dish for a novice cook to make to start good habits of doing mise en place (prep), reading through directions, and following them through while also using your senses.
This creamy and cheesy asparagus risotto from the amazing new cookbook, Five Ways to Cook Asparagus, is the perfect beginner risotto that is also appealing for an expert home cook. The ingredient list is relatively short and the process is straight forward. It’s a wonderful use of seasonal vegetables and would go perfect with the thin, young asparagus you see in the beginning of the season, but is just as delicious with asparagus from later in the season.
If you don’t have any white wine available, you can replace it with more vegetable stock. You can also experiment with different in-season vegetables. I sometimes like to add zucchini or yellow squash. I love to pair this asparagus risotto with grilled chicken or salmon and roasted vegetables. If you are using wine in the risotto, I recommend drinking the same wine with dinner to tie it all together.
You can find more amazing asparagus recipes as well as other incredible ingredient focused recipes in Five Ways to Cook Asparagus. It’s one of my favorite new cookbooks with amazing seasonal recipes and tips for cooking with seasonal ingredients.
Loved the asparagus risotto and looking for more dinner inspiration?
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- ¾ lbs asparagus (young, thin asparagus recommended)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1½ cups arborio rice (or any other risotto rice)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- In a large saucepan, add the vegetable stock and heat on medium until it is steaming hot, but not boiling and not yet simmering. Turn down the heat slightly to maintain the heat of the stock.
- Add a water to a large skillet with a high rim and heat until the water is boiling. Thoroughly wash the asparagus and trim the tough ends. Add the asparagus the skillet and blanch until it is a bright green.
- Discard all but one cup of the water. Add the reserved water to the vegetable stock.
- Allow the asparagus to cool until you can touch it. Trim the tender tops and place in a small bowl. Cover with some of the vegetable stock until the asparagus is mostly covered with the liquid and set aside.
- Chop the remaining asparagus stalks into one inch pieces. If you are using thicker asparagus, also cut the pieces in half. Set aside.
- Add the extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of the butter to the skillet and heat on medium high until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot.
- Add the finely chopped onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until you can smell the onions and they turn transparent.
- Add the risotto rice to the onions and cook for about two minutes, stirring occasionally. You want to toast the rice slightly. Add the chopped asparagus stalks (not the tips) to the rice. Cook for another minute to heat the asparagus.
- Add the wine and half a cup of the vegetable stock to the rice and cook until the liquid is completely absorbed by the rice. Stir the mixture as you cook.
- As soon as the wine and stock is absorbed, add another cup of the vegetable stock. Stir and cook until the stock is again absorbed by the rice. Keep an eye on how quickly the liquid is absorbed by the rice. It shouldn't sizzle and evaporate right away, but it shouldn't take more than a minute or two for the rice to absorb the liquid. Adjust the temperature of your stove as needed.
- Continue the process of adding a cup of stock and cooking until the liquid is absorbed. You will begin to notice the rice thickening and you will need to use a bit more effort to stir the mixture. Continue to cook, adding more of the stock one cup at a time. The rice should be tender, but not liquidy. It shouldn't clump together either. It should be thick, but you can still easily run a wooden spoon through the mixture. The process should take roughly 45 minutes to reach this consistency and you may not need all of the stock.
- Once you've reached the desired consistency, add the remaining butter and stir it in well.
- Add most of the Parmesan to the rice and stir it in. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with the asparagus tips and gently stir them in. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.
- Top each dish with more cheese and some parsley.
I received a copy of Five Ways to Cook Asparagus for free to review, all thoughts and opinions are my own!