Spring Risotto with Asparagus & Peas

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Spring Risotto with Asparagus & Peas

This creamy risotto with asparagus and peas makes a lovely starter, side dish, or vegetarian main course for spring.

Spring Risotto with Asparagus and Peas

Comforting to eat — and comforting to make, in a mindless, repetitive sort of way — risotto is a northern Italian rice dish cooked gently until it reaches a creamy consistency. Most people think of it as a restaurant-style dish, but it’s actually quite simple to make with just a few ingredients. The only thing to keep in mind is that it requires frequent stirring, so you need to stay close to the stove for 25 minutes while it cooks.

This spring risotto calls for seasonal vegetables but there’s lots of room for creativity and improvisation. Don’t feel like asparagus? Substitute zucchini or mushrooms. Going vegetarian? Replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth. Want to fancy it up? Stir in some fresh herbs at the end. You really can’t go wrong as long as you stick to the basic formula. Serve this spring risotto as a meatless main course or as a side to a simply cooked main dish, like pan-seared salmon or perfectly grilled chicken breasts.

How To Make Spring Risotto with Asparagus & Peas

ingredients for spring risotto

Before we get to the instructions, a few words about the ingredients. All risotto recipes begin with Arborio rice, a short-grained, high-starch Italian rice that becomes creamy and slightly chewy when cooked. You can find it in the rice section of most supermarkets. White wine is also a key ingredient in risotto. It adds nice flavor but if you’d rather not use it, use more broth instead and add a squeeze of lemon at the end. Finally, it’s important to use low-sodium broth when making risotto. The broth reduces while it cooks, intensifying the saltiness.

simmering broth

The first step to cooking risotto is to bring your broth to a simmer. It’s important that the broth is hot before you add it to the rice, as cold broth will cool the pan down and slow the cooking process. While the broth heats up, melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven (it’s important to use a large cooking vessel, as the rice will increase in volume when cooked). Add the asparagus and cook until tender-crisp, a few minutes.

sautéing the asparagus in butter

Add the peas and cook for 1 minute more, until they are defrosted.

adding the peas to the asparagus

Transfer the vegetables to a plate and set aside. You’ll add them back to the risotto at the very end. Cooking the vegetables first ensures that they don’t overcook.

transferring the veggies to a plate

In the same pot over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and add the onions.

cooking the onions

Cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Then, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Do not brown.

adding the garlic

Add the Arborio rice to the onions and garlic.

adding the rice

Cook, stirring constantly, until glossy and translucent around the edges, about 3 minutes. This  step of toasting the rice in fat adds depth of flavor and also prevents the grains from becoming mushy during the cooking process.

rice cooked until glossy and translucent around edges

Add the wine and cook until completely absorbed, about 1 minute.

adding the wine to the rice

Ladle about 1 cup of the simmering broth into the rice.

adding the broth little by little

Cook, stirring occasionally, until absorbed. Continue adding the broth, 1 cup at a time and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes. You don’t need to stir constantly; just check on it every few minutes to stir and prevent sticking. You’ll know it’s done when the rice al dente — just cooked, still with a little bite to it.

stirring until the broth is absorbedAdd the reserved vegetables, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and remaining tablespoon of butter to the risotto.

adding the cooked vegetables, cheese and butter to the risotto

Stir, then taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. If the risotto is too thick, thin it with a bit of milk. Spoon into bowls and serve with more cheese.

finished risotto

If you have leftover risotto, I highly recommend making risotto cakes. They are quite possibly even better than the actual risotto! You don’t need a recipe: simply mix the leftover cold risotto with a generous handful of shredded cheese. Use a cheese that melts well, such as fontina, Cheddar, Gruyère, or mozzarella. Scoop up about 1/3 cup of the risotto at a time and shape into patties about 3/4 inch thick and 3 inches wide. Coat the risotto cakes in panko, then fry in olive oil over medium heat until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side.

Risotto with Asparagus and Peas

Spring Risotto with Asparagus & Peas

This creamy risotto with asparagus and peas makes a lovely starter, side dish, or vegetarian main course for spring.

Servings: 4 as a main dish; 8 as a starter or side
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 bunch asparagus, preferably thin, trimmed and cut into 1-in pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot, bring the broth to a simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot or Dutch oven, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the asparagus, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the asparagus is tender-crisp, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus. Add the peas and continue cooking until the peas are defrosted, about 1 minute. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and set aside.
  3. In the same pot over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Do not brown. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until glossy and translucent around the edges, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until completely absorbed, about 1 minute. Ladle about 1 cup of the simmering broth into the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until absorbed. Continue adding the broth, 1 cup at a time and stirring frequently until it is absorbed, until the rice is al dente and creamy, about 25 minutes. (Be careful not to get distracted while the rice is cooking; while it doesn’t require a lot of skill, it does require you to keep a close eye on it to prevent sticking.)
  4. Stir in the reserved vegetables, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and remaining tablespoon of butter into the risotto. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. If the risotto is too thick, thin it with a bit of milk. Spoon the risotto into bowls and serve. Pass the Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 277
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 37 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Sodium: 245 mg
  • Cholesterol: 20 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I made this tonight and, wow, it was absolutely delicious. I really don’t know what I’d do without your recipes. They are all an excellent culinary adventure. Thank you.

    • — Virginia on June 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on June 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Love your recipes and wanting to make this one soon. How long does white wine (and wine in general) last once opened? I always buy the little bottles of wine to cook with since we don’t drink alcohol, but I’m always unsure if it is bad by the time I go to use the rest of it…I do refrigerate once opened.

    • — Lauren on May 19, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Lauren, So glad you like the recipes! If you look online, you’ll see that many sources say that open wine will last for 2 to 5 days in the fridge (here’s one), but I keep a bottle of wine open in my fridge for up to about 2 weeks and have never had a problem. Hope that helps and that you enjoy the risotto when you make it!

      • — Jenn on May 20, 2021
      • Reply

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