One of my favourite spring/summer vegetables is asparagus and this asparagus risotto is an amazing way to enjoy it! Risotto is an Italian rice dish where the rice (typically arborio) is constantly stirred as it’s cooked which results in an amazingly creaminess that’s finished off with parmesan cheese. It’s super easy to add flavours to risotto and asparagus is a perfect addition! I like to make asparagus risotto with an amazing bright green colour so the asparagus is blanched, by boiling or steaming, it until it just turns a bright green colour, before plunging it into a cold water bath to prevent the colour from continuing to a muted green, with more browns. When the asparagus is cooked, some of it is pureed, along with fresh basil, to make a sauce that’s mixed into the risotto, along with the remaining pieces od asparagus. Other that the asparagus, the risotto is a standard recipe and although it takes some time to make, it’s super easy, and well worth the time!
A simple creamy risotto with asparagus, basil and a splash of lemon juice!
- 1 pound asparagus (trimmed, cleaned, cut into pieces)*
- 2 tablespoons basil*
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup arborio rice (or other medium or short grained rice)
- 1/2 cup white wine (or broth)
- 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth, or the water that you cooked the asparagus in, warm)
- 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese), grated
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Steam the asparagus until it just turns a bright green, remove it from the heat, and plunge it in cold water (to stop the cooking process and keep it a nice bright green).
- Optionally puree some or all of the asparagus, along with the basil, and some of the cooking water, and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the rice and cook until it starts to turn translucent, about 1-3 minutes.
- Add the wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan by scraping up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon while the wine sizzles.
- Add 1/2 cup of broth and cook, stirring constantly until it has been absorbed into the rice before repeating, 1/2 cup at a time, until all of the broth has been added and absorbed.
- Add the parmesan, mix it in and let the cheese melt.
- Add the asparagus and asparagus puree.
- Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste!
Note: You can cook the asparagus any way you like: steam it, boil it, pan fry it, roast it, grill it. (I like a nice bright green colour so I steam or par-boil the asparagus until it just turns a bright green.)
Option: Replace the onion with a large leek.
Option: Add a tablespoon of butter at the end with the parmesan.
Option: Use parsley instead of basil.
Option: Use dill instead of basil.
Option: Garnish with sauteed mushrooms
Option: Garnish with cooked and crumbled bacon or prosciutto.
Winter Squash Risotto
Pear and Gorgonzola Risotto
Asparagus and Shiitake Mushroom Teriyaki Quinoa Salad
Asparagus, Halloumi and Chickpea Farro Salad
Asparagus and Pea Spinach Pesto Quinoa Salad
Roast Asparagus and Mushroom Chicken Spinach Salad with Bacon, Avocado and Goat Cheese
Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Caprese Spinach Salad with Bacon and Avocado
Asparagus Quinoa Salad