Spring Risotto with Asparagus & Peas

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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 grind 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 recipe tonight for the first time. I added some more rice and broth and substituted olive oil for some of the butter but otherwise followed the directions. It was delicious! Not too heavy but very filling. Could easily be a main course or side dish. I will definitely be making this again!

    • — Emily on August 21, 2019
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  • Delish! This is the first risotto recipe I used where the leftovers were as good as the first day. The consistency was spot on. I did not have asparagus or peas handy so I did a shiitake mushroom version. I also added a spoonful of chicken base to the hot stock since I like a bit more flavor. Finished the dish off with thinly sliced green onions.

    • — Danielle on May 30, 2019
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  • I love this recipe! ‘Once Upon a Chef’ has become my go-to for recipes. You never steer me wrong 🙂 I wanted to try to mimic a truffle risotto I had at a restaurant in Chicago, so I added some shaved truffles to the top. Thinking I need some truffle oil as well to really get that flavor. any suggestions on how much and when to add? thanks!

    • — Kristie on April 27, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Kristie, Glad you’re having success with the recipes! In addition to the shaved truffles, I would drizzle a little truffle oil over the top at the table — a little goes a long way.

      • — Jenn on April 28, 2019
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  • Fabulous and so exquisite! I completely agree with other reviewers: this is restaurant quality risotto. We also tried the patties with the leftovers and OMG, they were sooo yummy! ☺️

    • — Angela on April 26, 2019
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  • I manage a large CSA in California and Easter week we had fresh peas and asparagus in our boxes. We gave out this recipe and had many, many comments about how good it is. I personally have made it twice (once for Easter dinner.) It’s a keeper. Thank you Jenn, for so many great recipes! I bought your cookbook and I love it.

    • — Andrea Chavez on April 25, 2019
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  • This was fabulous! It also reheated beautifully.

    • — J Williams on April 25, 2019
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  • I made this to go with my Easter ham last weekend. It was delicious and well received by all. The leftovers the next day were also great. I’ll be making this again, over and over.

    • — Teresa Guerino on April 25, 2019
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  • I made this the other night and added roasted shrimp. It was delicious and everyone loved it. The lemon juice at the end really added to this dish. I will be making this again!

    • — Janet on April 23, 2019
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  • This recipe produces restaurant quality risotto!

    For years I’ve tried unsuccessfully to make risotto. I gave up entirely for awhile, but when I saw this recipe I thought I’d give it a try- why not!?! I followed it fairly closely (except that I used Marigold bouillon, a larger portion of veg, and substituted frozen edamame/soya beans for the peas, as I had them to hand). The risotto was the best I ever made, and one of the best I’ve ever eaten. The next day I was telling everyone who would listen about it.

    Thank you so much for this recipe, Jenn.

    • — Elle on April 23, 2019
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  • My Italian mother made risotto all the time – it was the meaning of “rice” at our house. And she rarely used aborio rice, though I will admit aborio makes it better. But it does work without it. Jenn’s recipe is authentic and the addition of asparagus and peas makes it ideal at my house – rice, asparagus and peas are my husband’s favorite side dishes.

    • — Andrea on April 21, 2019
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  • Delicious Spring Risotto!

    • — Linda G on April 15, 2019
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  • So good, and so easy to make. I used homemade bone broth instead, otherwise followed your recipe exactly. We ate this with seared scallops!

    • — Amber on April 15, 2019
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  • I made this this evening and it was excellent. I added some grated lemon zest and fresh thyme when I added the Parmesan. So good. Fresh tasting and delicious. This is my springtime risotto. Thank you, Jenn.

    • — Judy Weiss on April 14, 2019
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  • Can this easily be made in an Instant Pot?

    • — Micki on April 14, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Micki, I recently purchased an Instant Pot and have played around with it just a bit. I don’t know much about converting recipes to instant pot versions but would guess that due to the attention risotto requires, this may not be a great candidate for an instant pot. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on April 15, 2019
      • Reply
  • Quick and easy recipe! Delicious

    • — Michele Bessette on April 14, 2019
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  • A wonderful classic risotto recipe. I loved this. I made it just as described, except I found I did need more broth than the six cups called for in the recipe. Thank you Jenn for another great recipe!

    • — Julie on April 13, 2019
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  • Fabulous risotto recipe. My family loved it. I used the microwave to heat/simmer the broth and added some fried pancetta to the finished dish. I love all of Jen’s recipes. I particularly like that GF (and other allergy/vegetarian) options are offered in many of her recipes.

    • — Andrea Murdock on April 13, 2019
    • Reply
  • Classic risotto method presented without fuss or worry. Very nice flavor. Added lemon zest. Used a zester so lemon flavor was not too overpowering.
    Very pretty!

    • — Wendie Morin on April 12, 2019
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  • Wow! I didn’t know you could make risotto at home. This will be a great addition to our Easter Menu. Thanks for sharing this delicious and easy recipe!

    • — Gen on April 12, 2019
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  • I made this last night, it was wonderful. The only change I made was to add some leeks instead of onions. It is definitely is worth the watchful eye you need to have to make it. Thank you again Jenn for every one of your delicious, never fail recipes you share with all of us.

    • — Trudy Black on April 12, 2019
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  • This risotto was absolutely delicious! I cook for one and so many recipes are difficult to convert to smaller amounts. This one was VERY easy to adapt. I simply halved everything. Yum! and so easy.
    For the reviewer who asked what to do with leftover wine… I also use wine mainly for cooking and not for drinking. So, I buy the six ounce bottles in the four packs. These are usually just enough for a full recipe and a little sipping while cooking.

    Bon Appetit!

    • — KrisB on April 12, 2019
    • Reply
  • Just made this tonight (together with your ratatouille recipe) and it’s wonderful! I was running low on broth so used some of the ratatouille broth, which added a light tomato taste and naturally sweet extraction from the vegetables. Will make again!

    • — Trang T Nguyen on April 12, 2019
    • Reply
  • This is a recipe that I know my grandkids would enjoy as well. While we open a bottle of wine on the weekend, we don’t usually have any during the week. What do you do when a recipe calls for wine and you were not planning to drink any and so don’t really want to open a bottle. Usually when I open a pkt of broth I will freeze any left over for another day. But this can’t be done with wine?

    • — Irene on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Irene, it’s fine to use more broth instead of the wine; just add a squeeze of lemon at the end. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 11, 2019
      • Reply
    • Yes, you can freeze unused wine and keep for cooking!

      • — Leslie on April 15, 2019
      • Reply
  • I would like to bring this to a potluck Easter brunch. Would I be able to warm it up without losing quality, or is it best eaten immediately? Thanks!

    • — Kate on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Kate, Unfortunately, risotto doesn’t hold up well so I wouldn’t recommend it for a potluck. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on April 11, 2019
      • Reply
  • So simple but so satisfying. And like all of Jenn’s recipes always yummy. My wife and I have made hundreds of her recipes and have yet to be disappointed.

    • — Randy on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
    • I can’t wait to try your recipe for spring risotto as I make a winter one with mushrooms. What fresh herbs would you add at the end of cooking to add another layer of taste or would you just add some grated lemon zest?

      • — Judy on April 12, 2019
      • Reply
      • Hi Judy, Lemon zest would be nice but so would fresh thyme — or both!

        • — Jenn on April 12, 2019
        • Reply
  • Amazing recipe! We greatly enjoyed this as a delicious, light and comforting dinner tonight. It was very satisfying as a main course. The vegetables had great taste and texture, and the consistency of the rice was exactly to our liking (not too hard). Loved it topped with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and a little squeeze of lemon. Will definitely make it again!

    The posting of this recipe was truly perfect timing. I went to your website looking for something to cook with the homemade chicken stock in my fridge tonight when I saw that you had just posted this recipe. I had never made risotto before but knew that I could trust you. Thank you so much!

    • — Elise on April 10, 2019
    • Reply

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