Spring Risotto with Asparagus & Peas
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.
This creamy risotto with asparagus and peas makes a lovely starter, side dish, or vegetarian main course for spring.
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
Before we get to the step-by-step 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 a key ingredient in risotto, as it adds nice depth of flavor. However, if you’d prefer not use it, replace it with more broth and add a squeeze of lemon at the end.
- It’s important to use low-sodium broth when making risotto. The broth reduces while it cooks, intensifying the saltiness.
Step-by Step Instructions
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.
Add the peas and cook for 1 minute more, until they are defrosted.
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.
In the same pot over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and add the onions.
Cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Then, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Do not brown.
Add the Arborio rice to the onions and garlic.
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.
Add the wine and cook until completely absorbed, about 1 minute.
Ladle about 1 cup of the simmering broth into the rice.
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.
Add the reserved vegetables, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and remaining tablespoon of 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.
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.
You may also like
- Pea Soup with Basil
- Orzo Risotto with Shrimp, Peas & Bacon
- Spinach Quiche
- Green Pea & Asparagus Soup with Feta, Mint & Pita Croutons
Spring Risotto with Asparagus & Peas
This creamy risotto with asparagus and peas makes a lovely starter, side dish, or vegetarian main course for spring.
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 bunch asparagus, preferably thin, trimmed and cut into 1-in pieces
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
- In a medium pot, bring the broth to a simmer.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
Background story – I’m a “legend in my own mind” when it comes to making Italian food, but risotto is one that has always eluded me for the last 5 decades. This time I was a success. Thank you!
Another part is that I look forward to your emails. I review the recipes that I want to cook and save them in my recipe app Paprika. It allows me to scale your recipes and capture my own variations. One challenge of this approach is that the directions have part of the recipe embedded in the text (e.g. here the ingredients list calls for 4 Tbs of butter). Since there’s only two of us, I scaled the recipe by half, but forgot to change the directions on butter additions by half. No problem I just left out the last butter addition.
I also added a small ladle (~2 oz) of stock at a time, and it didn’t take long to absorb. Maybe this helped me to do it “right” for the first time. As well as quite small asparagus. I had run out of frozen peas so it was just asparagus soup.
On a scale of 5 stars this was a 10. My wife even said she thought it tasted “very very good.” So maybe there’s a chance I’ll get to my 51st anniversary this Memorial Day!
🙂 Glad both you and your wife enjoyed it — happy early anniversary!
Spring in a pot! Lovely, fresh flavors and easy to make. I added scallion whites with the onion & garlic, and stirred in the scallion greens and some flat-leaf parsley along with the asparagus and peas. A generous squeeze of lemon really makes it sparkle.
My family really enjoyed this recipe. It is simple, soothing, and tasty. My father in law had seconds for dessert! I did swap in some goat Gouda in place of the Parmesan and it worked well. I believe it would be delicious with Parmesan too, I worked with what I had on hand. Will make again.
Made this tonight. Loved it. Halved the recipe for 2 people and it turned out just great!
I skipped salt & pepper and instead used fresh basil, oregano & thyme. Thanks for sharing this simple and great tasting recipe!
I made this and it was really good , this is my first time I made risotto and the out come is excellent. Im just wondering if I can substitute brown wild rice for this? For healthier versions or any suggestions.
Hi Rose, Glad you enjoyed this! Arborio rice is the traditional option for risotto because it’s high in starch and gives that creamy texture when cooked. I’ve never tried risotto with other kinds of rice so it’s hard to say – I’m sorry! If you do experiment with other options, I’d love to hear how it turns out!
Delicious! thank you for the tip for using up what was left over. I made patties, adding Gruyère cheese and we had them with home made coleslaw and a salad. Really enjoyed them!
always check this site when i have a recipe in mind. i halved it because there’s just two of us and it was perfect.
What can I say another great recipe I make often! So good and great comfort food. Well worth the work of stirring. Every time I make this for company they all want the recipe! Thank you Jen ❤️
Love this recipe, I have made it as is and also improvised with different veggies I needed to use up—mushrooms worked great!!!
Question—I was wondering if I could double the recipe? How/would cooking change? Didn’t know if I could increase the added broth amount and wait for that to absorb or should I keep adding a cup at a time and it would take longer? Wanted to make a bigger batch at once and send some to the in-laws for dinner.
Hi Kate, so glad you like this! If you’re doubling this, I think you could get away with adding 1-1/2 cups of broth at a time and waiting for it to absorb each time before adding more as the recipe specifies. It will take a little bit longer but should work nicely as long as you keep an eye on it. Hope your in-laws enjoy!
Delicious! Big hit with my family. Used vegetable broth because my daughter is a vegetarian. It worked just fine instead of the chicken broth.
This recipe is very good. I was happy that the vegetables – asparagus especially was well seasoned. My husband is Italian and usually I leave him to do the risotto as I did it a few years ago and I thought he does it much better. He was horrified when I said I was adding in onions and garlic – it’s one or the other traditionally – apparently ?? But when he tasted it he was quite impressed. I was a bit worried about the quantity of broth so I didn’t use all of it but maybe 2/3rds /3/4ths which may have affected the flavour but next time I will fully follow the recipe.
This was very delicious. Took me closer to 45 minutes for all the broth to absorb, and I also added the zest of a lemon and the juice of half a lemon at the end when I stirred in the vegetables, plus a bit of tarragon from my garden. I also used fresh shelled peas instead of frozen, and just stirred them in for the last minute during the asparagus cooking stage, so they maintained a bit of a bite. DELICIOUS
I am not normally a fan of risotto but this was amazing! Served it last night to rave reviews from my family full of food critics. Thank you for sharing it.
This recipe looks great and I am planning on trying it soon. I would like to serve it with a light salad and shrimp (on the BBQ preferably). What flavours for the shrimp marinade/rub would you recommend to go with this risotto?
Thanks in advance!
Hi Bry, this would pair nicely with a shrimp that is flavorful but doesn’t compete too much with the flavors in the risotto. This one would work well. Hope you enjoy whatever you decide on!
Great recipe! First risotto I ever made so am excited it turned out. Added mushrooms instead of asparagus and no wine and it was delicious.
A delicious risotto! I added sliced zucchini with the asparagus and later added chopped fresh mint just before serving. I’ve turned the leftovers into patties by rolling the risotto in flour, then egg and then panko crumbs before pan frying. Also yum! Thanks once again, Jen! ❤️
This is one of the best risottos I have ever made, although I had to make some substitutions due to the fact that I am being frugal about any shopping trips. So, I used cream sherry in place of white wine, and instead of the garlic cloves and onion, I used 1/2 cup of green garlic and 1/2 cup of onion. Then finally I realized I had no Parmesan so I used Pecorino Romano. Sooo delicious!!! What a great recipe that allows for such substitutions and is still wonderfully good! Thanks so much!
I have loved every recipe I have ever tried of yours.
I don’t usually keep white wine on hand. Is it something that will go bad in a few days? Or is there a substitute you would recommend?
Hi Lena, An open bottle of white wine should be good for about 1 week (although I often let it go for longer) but it’s fine to use more broth instead of the wine; just add a squeeze of lemon at the end. Hope you enjoy!
Fantastic rissotto, simply delishious.
Actually I just realized I would have to leave out the Parmesan or use an alternative there too. Allergy to dairy.
I’m not sure of a great dairy-free alternative to Parm but it looks like you can create your own version. I haven’t tried it, but this recipe looks promising. Hope that helps!
I love your recipes and have made quite a few! Would there be a good substitute for the butter? My son is allergic. He has other allergies but the rest of the recipe seems to be free of them and he loves rice. I was thinking earth balance butter or olive oil? I know the EB can taste a bit different so whatever would be best to keep the flavor integrity of the recipe.
Hi Paula, I might suggest a combination of olive oil and butter. I’d saute the veggies in olive oil and then in the step where you’re combining everything at the end, I’d use the Earth Balance. The dish will have a slightly different taste but should still be good!
This was absolutely delicious! The exact texture and flavor I was hoping for. Thank you!
This recipe is great. I made it back in May and then stuck the leftovers in the freezer. This week, I pulled it out and reheated it – it was just as good as when I originally made it! Thanks, always, for sharing your wonderful recipes with us!
I used the base of this recipe to make risotto with different veggies that I roasted beforehand. Do you always use all 6 cups of liquid? After 5 cups mine had stopped absorbing liquid and was starting to get mushy. Still tasted delicious, though!
Hi Dana, There could be some variation in the liquid required, so you may not need all of it. Glad you enjoyed!
I use several of your recipes as staples in my family menu plan. So thank you for that. Your recipes are always reliable and your writing is straightforward.
The risotto cakes sound fascinating. If I make this recipe with the vegetables, can I still use that risotto for the risotto cakes? Or is it better just to do it plain, if planning for that? I just wondered if the asparagus pieces might interfere.
Thank you for your help!
Glad you like the recipes! Yes, as long as you cut the asparagus pretty finely, it should work with them. Hope you enjoy. 🙂
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!
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.
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!
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.
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! ☺️
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.
This was fabulous! It also reheated beautifully.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Delicious Spring Risotto!
So good, and so easy to make. I used homemade bone broth instead, otherwise followed your recipe exactly. We ate this with seared scallops!
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.
Can this easily be made in an Instant Pot?
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!
Quick and easy recipe! Delicious
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!
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.
Classic risotto method presented without fuss or worry. Very nice flavor. Added lemon zest. Used a zester so lemon flavor was not too overpowering.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?
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! 🙂
Yes, you can freeze unused wine and keep for cooking!
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!
Hi Kate, Unfortunately, risotto doesn’t hold up well so I wouldn’t recommend it for a potluck. Sorry!
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.
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?
Hi Judy, Lemon zest would be nice but so would fresh thyme — or both!
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!