Creamy and dreamy, this easy Asparagus Risotto is worthy of a restaurant menu, but so easy to make at home. It makes the perfect side dish for a salmon or chicken dinner, or to serve for a holiday or celebration. Our easy technique walks you through the simple steps to make this asparagus risotto recipe at home, which you’ll love from the very first bite to the last.

Risotto with Asparagus: The Origin of Risotto

Risotto is as Italian as pizza and tiramisu. This creamy rice dish originates from the northern part of the country where it is often served as the primi, or first course in a meal. Risotto dishes almost always call for arborio rice, which is higher in starch and creates a more creamy, firm, and chewy texture than traditional white rice. But, while arborio rice is traditional, you can use any type of short- or medium-grain white rice to make risotto. Like all rice, arborio rice is gluten free.

Risotto is a perfect backdrop for adding spices, herbs, and veggies. Here, we’ve added delicious flavor from lemon juice, asparagus, and herbs. Feel free to make your risotto your own, but adding a few cloves garlic, orange or lemon zest, cooked mushrooms, peas, or other tender veggies to the creamy rice mixture.

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Ingredients for Lemon Asparagus Risotto

Gather these fresh and pantry ingredients to make this asparagus risotto recipe:

arborio rice – this type of rice is typical for risotto, but you can use any other short- or medium-grain rice; you’ll need 1 1/2 cup arborio riceshallot – may sub 1/2 small white onion lemon – you use the juice of 1 large lemonasparagus stalks – you’ll need 1 lb of fresh asparagus spears, thin to medium thickness stalks are bestbroth – use low-sodium chicken or vegetable brothoil – use olive oil or avocado oil Parmesan cheese – you can use shaved, shredded, or grated Parmesanfresh herbs – fresh thyme or parsley are optional as a garnish, but add beautiful color

Unlike traditional versions, this Asparagus Risotto recipe doesn’t call for any butter or white wine. Scroll down for the complete recipe, instructions, notes, and nutrition information.

How to make Risotto with Asparagus & Lemon

You’ll cook the risotto and the asparagus in separate pots or skillets, and then combine them to finish this easy side dish.

Cook the shallot, then toast the rice: In a Dutch oven, large pot, or large skillet with straight sides over medium heat, heat the oil, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, 2-4 minutes. Next, add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice becomes glossy, 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then the lemon juice. Stir and let the liquid bubble away for 30 seconds. Heat the water for the asparagus: While the shallot is cooking, fill a large, wide skillet or saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add ladles of broth to the rice: When the lemon juice has been absorbed into the rice, start adding the broth, ½ cup at a time. You do not need to heat the broth ahead of time. When the ½ cup of broth has been absorbed into the rice (2-5 minutes), add another ½ cup of broth, stirring after each addition. Keep adding broth, ½ cup at a time, when each previous addition of broth has been absorbed into the rice, keeping the heat at medium to medium-high and stirring frequently. Cook the asparagus: Back at the skillet with the water, when the water in the skillet comes to a boil, add the asparagus pieces in an even layer. If the water doesn’t cover the asparagus, put a lid on the skillet. Cook the asparagus until tender and bright green (2 minutes for thin asparagus, 4-5 minutes for medium asparagus, and 6-7 minutes for thick asparagus pieces). When the asparagus is tender, drain the skillet and run some cold water over the asparagus. Then drain and set asparagus aside. Finish the risotto: Begin tasting the rice after about 20 minutes of cooking. The rice should be neither soupy nor dry. You want it to be tender and not chalky tasting but still have a little toothsome crunch to it and creamy texture, which could take up to 30 minutes to reach that texture. When it does, stir in the Parmesan and drained asparagus pieces. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper, if you’d like. Serve risotto immediately and garnish with additional shaved Parmesan and fresh herbs (such as parsley or thyme). 

FAQ: Asparagus Risotto Recipe

Here are some commonly asked questions about how to make asparagus risotto:

Do I need to heat the broth? No, you don’t. Many recipes have you bring the broth to a simmer in a separate pot, but this step is not necessary. You can add 1/2-cup increments of the broth to the pot directly from the carton or a bowl (unheated).

What size asparagus should I use? You can use very thin stalks up to medium thickness stalks of asparagus. Trim the ends and slice them into 1 1/2-inch pieces so they’ll be easy to eat in this risotto dish.

Do I have to use arborio rice to make risotto? No, you don’t. While arborio rice is the preferred and classic type of rice to use when making risotto, you can still achieve a creamy and delicious rice dish using any type of short- or medium-grain white rice.

What should I serve with risotto? This delicious, lemony, creamy rice dish pairs wonderful with many flavors. We love to serve it with grilled, baked, or stovetop-cooked salmon. It’s also excellent with many other types of fish and seafood (such as shrimp or scallops), as well as chicken, pork, thinly sliced steak, sausages, or even on its own as a vegetarian meal.

More Asparagus Recipes to Try

When to serve Lemony Asparagus Risotto

This fresh dish has spring written all over it. And since spring is the prime season for asparagus, we love to serve this asparagus risotto side dish for spring celebrations like Easter and Mother’s Day. Here are some perfect occasions to serve it up:

Easter: Make this fresh and lemony light side dish to complement an Easter brunch and pair wonderfully with cooked ham or lamb

Mother’s Day: Make the special Mom in your life feel fancy and appreciate when you make her a complete asparagus risotto and salmon dinner

Dinner parties: Wow your dinner guests with a platter of creamy asparagus risotto and just watch it disappear

The Health benefits of Asparagus

Asparagus is what we refer to as a very nutrient-dense food, meaning that it packs a lot of nutrition for every calorie. The fiber in asparagus is mostly insoluble fiber, which can help your digestive system. The antioxidants and minerals in asparagus are of the variety known to be especially beneficial for lowering blood pressure and acting as a natural anti-inflammatory agent in your body.

Have a friend who is pregnant? Asparagus would be an especially good choice for her because it’s high in folate, a nutrient that helps form DNA for healthy development and growth. Just 1/2 cup of asparagus supplies nearly one-fourth of the daily folate needed during pregnancy and more than one-third of the daily folate that all adults need.

how to store leftovers & reheat Leftovers

Store cooked and cooled risotto in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to five days. To reheat risotto, use one of these methods and add 3 tablespoons of water or broth for every 1 cup of leftover risotto:

Stovetop: In a pot or pan, place risotto with the amount of liquid at the ratio above. For example, if you are reheating 2 cups of risotto, add 6 tablespoons of liquid. Heat and stir over medium heat until the risotto is warm and creamy again.

Microwave: Place the leftover risotto in a microwave-safe bowl. Add liquid at the ratio mentioned above; microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway.

Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the risotto in an oven-safe pan or skillet. Add liquid at the ratio mentioned above; bake for 10 minutes, then stir.

More Delicious Rice Recipes


Recipe

Easy & Creamy Lemon Asparagus Risotto

Lemony, creamy, indulgent, and delicious, this Asparagus Risotto recipe will have everyone thinking they’re dining at a fine restaurant. You’ll never need to tell them how easy it is to make. Fresh asparagus, lemon, and Parmesan are perfect flavor matches. 

Prep: 10 mins.Cook: 35 mins.Total: 45 minutes

Servings: 6–8 servings (6 cups risotto) 1x

Ingredients

2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
1 shallot, minced (or ½ small white onion, minced)
1½ cups arborio rice or other short- or medium-grain rice (290 g)
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper (plus more to taste)
Juice of 1 large lemon (3-4 tablespoons)
1 lb asparagus, cut into 1½-inch pieces
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup grated, shredded, or shaved Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Chopped fresh parsley or thyme for garnish (optional)

Instructions

In a Dutch oven, large pot, or large skillet with straight sides over medium heat, heat the oil, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, 2-4 minutes. 
Meanwhile, fill a large, wide skillet or saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. 
To the first pot with the shallot, add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice becomes glossy, 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then the lemon juice. Stir and let the liquid bubble away for 30 seconds. 
When the lemon juice has been absorbed, start adding the broth, ½ cup at a time. You do not need to heat the broth ahead of time. When the ½ cup of broth has been absorbed into the rice (2-5 minutes), add another ½ cup of broth, stirring after each addition. Keep adding broth, ½ cup at a time, when each prevision addition of broth has been absorbed into the rice, keeping the heat at medium to medium-high and stirring frequently. 
Back to the skillet: When the water in the skillet comes to a boil, add the asparagus pieces in an even layer. If the water doesn’t cover the asparagus, put a lid on the skillet. Cook the asparagus until tender and bright green (2 minutes for thin asparagus, 4-5 minutes for medium asparagus, and 6-7 minutes for thick asparagus pieces). 
When the asparagus is tender, drain the skillet and run some cold water over the asparagus. Then drain and set asparagus aside. 
Back to the risotto: Begin tasting the rice after about 20 minutes of cooking. The rice should be neither soupy nor dry. You want it to be tender and not chalky tasting but still have a little toothsome crunch to it, which could take up to 30 minutes to reach that texture. When it does, stir in the ½ cup Parmesan and drained asparagus pieces. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper, if you’d like. 
Serve risotto immediately and garnish with additional shaved Parmesan and fresh herbs (such as parsley or thyme). 

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Notes

Add Stovetop Salmon: This asparagus risotto tastes delicious served with salmon, cooked to your preference (grilled, skillet cooked, or oven baked). Follow these simple directions to cook salmon on the stovetop: 

Cut a 1 lb salmon fillet (skin on or skinless) into 4 pieces; sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides. Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and swirl to coat the skillet. Add the fish to the hot oil, skin side down (even if the skin has been removed), and increase the heat to medium-high. 
Cook until the salmon pieces easily release from the skillet surface, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the salmon pieces over and cook to desired doneness, 2 to 5 minutes more. Use a knife to check the inside of the salmon. Serve with lemon wedges on the side. 

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 cup risottoCalories: 273Fat: 7 g(Sat Fat: 2 g)Sodium: 266 mgCarbohydrate: 44 g(Fiber: 3 gSugar: 3 g)Protein: 9 gCholesterol: 7 mg

Dietary


Egg-FreeGluten-freeNut-freeVegetarian

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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel Cook of Half Acre House.

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