Asparagus Risotto Recipe: A Creamy Dreamy Dinner
HurryTheFoodUp is reader-powered. If you click through using links on our site we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.
A quick and simple risotto recipe is a great weeknight dinner and our creamy asparagus risotto is just the ticket! It’s ready in just 25 minutes and is full of the delicious flavors of fresh asparagus, herbs and cheese, in a creamy vegetable broth based sauce.
There’s plenty of debate as to how to make the perfect risotto. Some people stress the importance of frying the rice first, others say that makes it less creamy. Some think that it is crucial to add the stock one ladle at a time, others see no issues in whacking it all in, in one go.
I think a lot of it comes down to personal preference – though I am sure I am upsetting many Italians when I say this! From my research, I have concluded that frying the rice makes it taste nuttier, however it can impact the creamy texture.
Therefore, in this scenario, I think you can choose what is more important to you.
And when it comes to vegetable stock, I would say it comes down to timing! If you have the time to add stock ladle by ladle, go for it – you are less likely to end up adding too much water and turning your risotto to mush. However, if you want a quick fix, there’s nothing wrong with adding it all at once.
Risotto rice is not actually a type of rice, but there are specific types of rice that you should use for a risotto. These are short grain, high starch varieties such as arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone nano. The most popular variety is Italian arborio rice.
It is thanks to the starchiness of these rice varieties that you are able to achieve a creamy risotto where the grains stick together.
I use all the asparagus from the asparagus tips to its stems. Just remember to cut off their woody base! I usually cut these into inch long pieces, but you can do it according to your preference. Spring (February to June) is asparagus season, so why not try making this then.
Choose which you prefer! Olive oil is somewhat healthier, being a monounsaturated fat, however butter has a creamy richness that is hard to refuse. It may have more saturated fat content, but that isn’t the end of the world. If you choose olive oil, use double the amount you would have used for butter.
An extra pop of colour and crunch to your risotto, as well as nutritional goodness. Fresh, canned or frozen work just fine.
This will form the main base of your risotto, as this is the liquid that the rice cooks in. Try to pick low sodium stock if you can find it.
The classic is of course parmesan cheese, but that usually contains rennet which is not vegetarian. So instead, look for any hard cheese that is made with vegetarian rennet. Cheddar can be used in a pinch, too!
If you have these to hand, they will make your risotto even more flavorful. I’ve tried mint, basil and/or parsley, but you could also experiment with dill, oregano, thyme or rosemary, for example.
How many calories in this asparagus risotto?
This creamy asparagus risotto contains 475 calories per serving, and it contains 20g protein per serving.
This classic risotto is gluten-free and egg-free. At under 500 calories, it’s a great dish when you’re counting the calories, and it provides a solid 16 grams of protein! If you want more weight loss friendly takes on classic dishes, check out our FREE weight loss meal plan today!
Asparagus is an excellent source of Vitamin K, which is an important nutrient for bone health. It also contains plenty of folate, which is important for cell growth and DNA formation.
Peas contain Vitamins C and E, as well as zinc. Vitamin C helps to maintain healthy skin, blood vessels and bones. Vitamin E is important for your eye health and for strengthening the body’s immune system.
Furthermore, adding these vegetables to a risotto increases the amount of fibre in your meal, making it better for your digestive health!
So it’s pretty healthy as vegetarian Italian recipes go!
How to make the best risotto
This is how you get your risotto to the perfect smooth and creamy texture!
- Prep: Chop the asparagus into 1-inch pieces and dice the onion.
- Fry: Melt the unsalted butter in a pan, then lightly fry the onion over a medium-low heat. Once it is translucent, add the rice, and toast for a couple of minutes. If you want to add a glass of white wine and cook it off, now would be the time to do so!
- Stock: Add 500 ml/2 cup broth, either all at once or bit by bit, your choice. If you added it all at once, let the rice cook for 15 minutes, stirring every so often.
- Vegetables: Pile in the fresh vegetables, and cook over a medium heat until al dente, around 5 minutes. Add more broth if needed. Now is also the time to add fresh herbs, if you’re using them.
- Check: Try the rice. Is it cooked? If not, let it simmer a while longer. If it is cooked, then stir in the cheese and serve! The consistency of a good risotto should be like lava.
Asparagus Risotto FAQs
Can I make this ahead?
Yes! Asparagus risotto keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can even freeze it in portions and reheat in the microwave. The only thing to watch out for is leaving rice out unrefrigerated, as bacteria can grow that cause food poisoning. If making it ahead, make sure you do not leave it unrefrigerated for more than an hour, and reheat it it thoroughly until it is piping hot.
How to store and reheat?
Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 3 days. Make sure you cool and store rice quickly, avoid leaving it out for more than an hour, as rice is prone to growing food poisoning causing bacteria if left at room temperature for too long. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove. Make sure you heat it until it is piping hot, to ensure any bacteria that has grown is killed.
What to serve with asparagus risotto?
A side dish of roasted vegetables is good to serve with this risotto. However, this stands alone as a meatless main dish, so no need to serve it with anything else unless you want to.
What is the secret to creamy risotto?
Some people say the secret is adding the broth bit by bit and stirring constantly, as this allows the rice grains to rub up against each other and release their starchiness, which is what makes it creamy.
However, I had similar results when I added the broth all at once, so I would say that the secret is just adding enough broth, stirring thoroughly, ensuring the rice is fully cooked through and adding a healthy handful of cheese at the end.
What is asparagus risotto made of?
Risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli work best), asparagus, peas, vegetable broth, hard cheese, onion and olive oil or butter.
Variations and alternatives for this asparagus risotto
To make this vegan, just cut the cheese, or replace it with a vegan cheese alternative. Cutting the cheese also works if you want to lower the fat content of your risotto, alongside swapping butter for olive oil. I would add some nutritional yeast, too.
You can try this same recipe with other vegetables, such as mushrooms, courgettes or tomatoes. You can also feel free to experiment with herbs and seasonings – why not try fresh thyme and lemon juice or lemon zest?
If you do not follow a vegetarian diet, try chicken stock or chicken broth instead of veggie stock.
More risotto and asparagus recipes
For more ways to cook asparagus, try our roasted asparagus, tomatoes and halloumi.
- ½ cup risotto rice (Carnaroli gives the best results but Arborio is easier to find)
- 5 oz asparagus
- 2 tsp butter (or double the amount olive oil)
- 1 small onion
- 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup hard cheese, grated (and make sure it’s with vegetarian rennet of course!)
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Optional – if you have them to hand, great – throw them in!
- 1 small handful mint, fresh (dried or frozen work too!)
- 1 small handful basil, fresh (again, dried or frozen work too!)
- 1 small handful parsley, fresh (again, any form will do)
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- Chop the asparagus into small pieces.5 oz asparagus
- Finely dice an onion.1 small onion
- Let the butter/oil melt in the pan and add the onion and cook until it’s translucent.2 tsp butter
- Add the rice and toast for a minute or two. (optional: fry the rice in 1/2 cup white wine until the wine has evaporated)½ cup risotto rice, 2 tbsp white vinegar
- Then add 500ml of the stock and stir.3 cups vegetable broth
- Leave on a low simmer for 15 minutes (better stay nearby so you can give it an occasional stir).
- Add in the nutritional yeast, asparagus and peas, stir and leave for 5 more minutes.1 cup peas, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- You probably need to add some more liquid (it will depend on the heat applied).
- Now, check the rice. It may need a few more minutes to finish cooking.
- Once the rice is soft it’s time to give it the finishing touch – if needed add a little water (add in small amounts, you don’t wanna overdo it!) and a little grated cheese to get the creaminess right.½ cup hard cheese, grated
- Remember: it needs to flow like lava.
I hope you enjoyed our take on the classic northern Italian rice dish that is risotto! Need any more tips on the cooking process, or want to suggest your favorite things to add to a risotto? Let us know in the comments below.