Asparagus Risotto

In California winter can transition to spring in a flash. It seems like yesterday we were beset by chilly storms while the forecast for this week is all sunny and 70s. Daffodils are blooming, as are cherry trees, and the truest test of spring, asparagus in the market can be found for less than $2 a pound. I just couldn’t resist these at the market today, and cooked them up into a creamy risotto. This recipe is a a classic asparagus risotto recipe. You can easily dress it up with some lemon zest, lump crab meat, green onions, truffle salt, fresh thyme or chopped mint.

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Asparagus Risotto Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-3 as a main course, or 4 as a side dish.

If you want to make this a vegetarian dish, use vegetable stock or water instead of the chicken stock.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (or 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 3 Tbsp water)
  • About 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian option)*
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed, tips cut off, tough skins of the spears peeled (if working with thick apparatus spears), and the spears cut into thin disks
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

If cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free stock.

Method

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1 In a 3 or 4 quart saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon butter on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for a minute or two, until translucent. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring until nicely coated.

2 While the shallots are cooking, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan.

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3 Add the wine. Slowly stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine. Once the wine is almost completely absorbed, add 1/2 cup of hot stock to the rice. Continue to stir until the liquid is almost completely absorbed, adding more stock in 1/2 cup increments. Stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 20-25 minutes. With the last ladle of stock, add the asparagus. Turn off the heat.

Note the stock amount given is approximate. You may need a little more or less. If you end up needing more stock and you find yourself without, just use water.

4 Gently stir in the Parmesan cheese and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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Links:

Cauliflower and leek risotto from Alanna of Kitchen Parade
Adam's especially green asparagus risotto from the Amateur Gourmet
Meyer lemon risotto made with pearl barley from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks
Butternut squash risotto with rosemary, walnuts, and blue cheese from Food Blogga
Nettle Risotto - from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

50 Comments

  1. Donald

    Elegant, simply elegant.

    Isn’t risotto just one of those dishes that make you feel sooooo guilty eating? Despite the labor of love in making it, it has to be one of the most soothing and delicious things to eat.

  2. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I often add saffron to the risotto, for the flavor but also for the wonderful color contrast between the green asparagus and the gold of the rice.

  3. Patricia Scarpin

    I love risotto, Elise, and asparagus is one of my top favorites! This looks delicious!

  4. Erica

    Since peas are also spring favorites, I sometimes add some at the very end when I make asparagus risotto. I have also been toying with the idea of young fava beans. Last spring I had a fabulous salad of asparagus, peas and favas at one of my favorite restaurants and with spring around the corner it seems worth the try!

  5. Manda

    Hi Elise! I constantly come to your blog for advice and inspiration; all your food looks absolutely delicious! It was so funny that I’ve been trying to come up with a risotto recipe and lo and behold you have listed one in addition to a few other blogs featuring risotto!

    Thank you for assisting me in my dinner dilemma.

  6. Karolina

    I love risotto too. It must taste delicious with asparagus. I’ll try that some day:)

  7. Taiyyaba Qureshi

    Elise,
    Thanks for offering a substitute for wine in this recipe. I’m Muslim, so I don’t use any alcohol at all, and I’m often at a loss for ideas of alcohol substitutes!
    – Taiyyaba

  8. Linda

    Taiyyaba,

    Substitutes for wine can be grape juice, white or red, apple juice, vegetable stock/broth or chicken stock/broth and water. If the recipe calls for just a little bit of wine for example to deglaze a pan for the sauce, water can be used instead.

    Linda in Washington State

  9. katy

    Wonderful! This seems like it would be such a perfect Easter recipe — it just screams spring.

  10. Hank

    Ha! We are on the same wavelength: I did a seafood risotto with a morel mushroom I found in my front yard yesterday that I served with a sauteed skate wing…and today it’ll be petrale sole with the first Delta asparagus of the year! Yay for local asparagus!

  11. JEP

    Looks & sounds so delicious! I appreciate the related links you so kindly highlight, as well. Uh…here in the Midwest we have wintry mix of snow & ice…no farmer’s markets:(

  12. edward

    Elise,

    Lovely photos and excellent descriptions. Many thanks for linking to me, it’s done the strangest things to the stats :)

  13. Kevin

    That risotto looks really good.

  14. Marta

    Lovely recipe. I made risotto primavera this weekend using asparagus, carrot, peas, yellow squash and basil (see Epicurious “Spring in a Bowl”. Daffodils are not blooming yet here in the Pacific Northwest but the crocus are blooming and promising Spring will not be far.

    Risotto primavera, what a great idea! I could really see this with spring peas, asparagus, mint, and a little Meyer lemon. ~Elise

  15. elyse

    Bless you. I’ve had asparagus in the refrigerator for the past week and I’ve run out of ideas for to cook it. Now I have dinner plans for tonight! Yum!

  16. michelle @ thursday night smackdown

    Just wonderful. I’m sitting here twitching, waiting for asparagus season to come. the bulbs are just starting to poke out of the ground, so I have a few more weeks to go. Drat!

  17. Christina

    This was great!! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  18. Amanda

    Question: In step 3 you say: “While the shallots are cooking, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan.” And then in the next step you say to add the wine.
    I just wanted to clarify…you heat up the stock in a separate pan, but you directly add the wine to the rice, correct?
    After reading the directions a couple times, I’m assuming this is the correct way…but I want to make sure!
    I’m in Washington State where beautiful asparagus can almost always be found, but I love finding new ways to use it. Thanks!

    Yes, add the wine to the shallots and rice. ~Elise

  19. akeorlando

    This sounds beyond fantastic! I’ll eat risotto in any way, shape or form.

    I’ll have to try making this sometime.

  20. Jamie AZ

    This looks delicious! I’ve had some arborio rice in the pantry with plans to make risotto, but they haven’t materialized yet, so this will be the recipe we do! My 6 year old has discovered asparagus, so I think he’ll like it a lot. The 4 year old, not so much, but we’ll pick his asparagus out.

  21. Lady Amalthea

    How delightful! We don’t have asparagus yet, but I can’t wait until we do. I’ve never made risotto; it always seemed luck *such* a big deal, but with your easy-to-follow directions, it seems so doable. Thanks!

  22. Darla

    Is the addition of cheese necessary?

  23. Sam Levy

    Note that on Step 5, In Italy, Risotto is finished by “mounting” it with the butter as it melts in and the parmesan cheese. This mounting is a vigourous, all-but-whipping motion done with a wooden spoon. By no stretch of the imagiantion should this be done gently. It is the final rough release of the starch into the property amount of (what was previously almost soup-stewy) liquid that creates what is considered the perfect risotto consistency, “al onda” or “like a wave” (albeit an extremely slow moving, nearly frozen in time wave)

  24. John Beene

    Bittman and Batali make it here.

    Mario has definite opinions about risotto.

  25. Jennifer

    I just wanted to thank you for posting this wonderful recipe. For years I have been looking for a good Asparagus Risotto recipe and after having this last night, I found it.

  26. judi0044

    Wonderful recipe – though I was late in finding it. Just bought a beautiful bunch of asparagus and this was such a perfect way to use it. My husband really enjoyed it.

  27. Sarah

    Oh my goodness this dish is so delicious! I just tried it and I am definitely a novice chef so if I didn’t screw it up, you know it can’t be that difficult to master. Soo soo good, thanks for the recipe.

  28. Melissa

    I made this delicious dish last night-my first homemade risotto. I had to entertain my tired & cranky 2 year old while stirring, stirring, and more stirring, but it was SO worth it! I was “Mmmmming” with pleasure the whole time I was eating. Thanks for posting this Elise!

  29. ginny

    This risotto was truly “heaven in a bowl”. Asparagus is my favorite veggie, and in the Big Apple we are fortunate enough to have asparagus all year round now, so I will be making and enjoying this dish frequently. I never get tired of true comfort food in the winter, and it has been mighty cold this year. This will surely warm you up!

  30. Rene

    Elise, I just made this for dinner — my husband had never had risotto before. He was skeptical: He’s a meat-and-potatoes kinda guy. Long story made longer: I served it up, he took one bite and said — and I quote — “This is magic.” I will definitely make this recipe again.

  31. Heather

    Wow, this is a great recipe. I bought some asparagus this weekend with no particular plans for it, so I searched your site for asparagus recipes and thought this sounded good. I used pearl rice instead of arborio, and it worked like a dream. I also dry-sautéed some sliced portabello mushrooms (on high heat – something I think I learned about in another one of your recipes) to add in with the asparagus just because I wanted to add something a little “meaty” to the dish. Very delicious. Thanks for a real winner!

  32. Kirsten

    I made this last night for my husband with a couple of personal variations (like adding garlic and mushrooms). The recipe was super easy to follow and it turned out perfectly! I was a bit nervous, it is risotto after all. He thought it was the best thing I have ever made! Thanks!

  33. Jen

    Excellent recipe! So simple and delicious! I sauteed 1 carton of sliced crimini mushrooms in butter, salt & pepper, while stirring the rice. Just let them reduce, then set aside until the risotto was done. They added a nice savory taste to the recipe that was an excellent compliment to the crunchy asparagus and fresh Parmesan!

  34. rokorox

    Another nice recipe! Super-easy, fool-proof, delicious. Tossed in some fresh green peas at the end. Thank you Elise.

  35. Chanel

    This was so delicious! Thanks again for yet another wonderful recipe! =)

  36. mrfreeze

    I tried this recipe for my first attempt at risotto. In a word, FANTASTIC! Aside from the ingredients listed here, I added a few cloves of garlic, more so to add the aroma to the house than anything else. It was a nice touch. Thanks for this recipe, it will live on in our home for a long time.

  37. Leslie

    Thanks for the recipe! I made this last night and my husband said I could make it again anytime. So delicious!

  38. Krystle

    Soooooo good -another great recipe, thank you! I think this ties with the apple cobbler for being my favorite recipe on this site so far. This was one of the few things my picky five-year-old will eat! It stores and reheats well, so we had it for days, and it actually just got better and better. I had kept my shallots for a little too long, so I had to improvise and use two cloves of garlic instead. Turned out fine! Thanks! I’ll definitely make this again.

  39. Sarah

    Fantastic! This is a staple at our home now and the recipe serves as a great foundation for other risottos. Thank you for sharing this excellent dish!

  40. Anna

    This risotto was absolutely amazing! I had never made risotto before and this turned out just fabulously. My roommate was shocked it was my first time. Thanks for the step by step directions!

  41. HENRY

    DELICIOUS!!!!!!!! YUMMY YUMMY!!!

  42. Lizzy

    I tried this tonight, first time making risotto, and it was delicious!! What a great recipe and easy to follow.

  43. pattiq

    Wow! My first time making risotto from scratch. I don’t eat onions of any kind so I skipped the shallots and I roasted the asparagus before adding. It was perfectly delicious! Thanks! Beautiful site!

  44. Kelsey

    Hey! So I have been on your website so many times but have never commented and decided it was about time. My family and I have NEVER been disappointed with your recipes…unique, simple, delicious, so fresh! And I just finished eating this recipe and… oh my! SO delicious! Followed it exactly as is besides throwing in some sauteed mushrooms and scallops and it was beyond amazing. So anyways, thank you for sharing your gift with us all! You make me look good in the kitchen to my brand new husband :)

  45. Judy Peeples

    First time I have posted about a recipe. This was so fabulous. Thank you Simply Recipes for your delicious and wonderful recipes. The flavors in this risotto were divine. FIRST TIME I MADE RISOTTO. :)
    Judy

  46. Braddy Boy

    Was looking for something different to go with broiled salmon. This was perfect and it tasted excellent….When we had left overs, I mixed the salmon in with the risotto, heated it up, and it was just as good the second time.

  47. Anonymous in Colorado

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. It is my GO to risotto recipe and instructions. I have made it several times and it has come out fabulous each time. I just made the asparagus risotto and put an egg on top! It was fantastic! Thank you for taking the fear out of risotto. People say it is so hard??? I am very pleased.

  48. JadenKale

    I made this tonight to compliment my pecan-crusted pork dish. I changed it a bit, since I have a roommate who isn’t a fan of asparagus. I used a little less than half the amount of asparagus (approximately 6 oz. I searched high and low to procure a bundle of the tiniest spears I could find. For anyone who’s never prepared or had asparagus, the tip is to find young spears no larger in diameter than your pinky finger. Any larger, and they tend to be tough, fibrous, and have a stronger flavor.), and after I put the rice into the pot, I added about 4-6 oz of baby bella mushrooms. I was also out of white wine and was planning to use the lemon addition, when I remembered I had some cooking sherry available and used it instead.

    I think the next time I make this, I may mince a couple cloves of garlic (since I plan to make this again, without the asparagus, for the roommate) and add them just after I cook down the shallots.

    This came out exceptionally well and I can’t wait to make it sans asparagus, as well as with the asparagus again.

    Daddy taught me well… Always eat your asparagus! :D

  49. June

    I’ve made this recipe twice now, both times to rave reviews. The flavor is spot on. The only addition I made was to add bay scallops — delicious! I love this fail-proof risotto recipe!

  50. Gail

    Hi Elise! I noticed you changed this recipe from your original, which surprises me because the original is so perfect. I will try it this way, though, so I can compare.

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