Asparagus Risotto Recipe - Italian Cuisine

Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus Risotto Recipe - Italian Cuisine
Region / culture: Italy | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4


Asparagus Risotto
Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus Risotto is a classic Italian dish that combines the creamy texture of Arborio rice with the fresh, green flavor of asparagus. This dish is perfect for a spring dinner when asparagus is in season, offering a delightful blend of textures and flavors. The addition of cheese and herbs enhances the risotto, making it a comforting yet elegant meal that can be enjoyed on its own or as a side dish.


Risotto, in its many forms, has been a staple of Italian cuisine for centuries. The technique of stirring hot stock into rice until creamy has been perfected over generations. Asparagus risotto, specifically, gained popularity in the northern regions of Italy where both rice and asparagus are abundantly grown. This dish reflects the Italian culinary principle of using fresh, seasonal ingredients to create simple yet flavorful meals.


How to prepare

  1. Wash the asparagus and cut off the tough stalk ends.
  2. Boil the asparagus in a large saucepan with salted water for 3 minutes.
  3. Drain the asparagus, but keep the cooking liquid. Cut off the asparagus tips and set them aside.
  4. In a large skillet, cook the onion and garlic in oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the rice and stir for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in 1 cup of the reserved asparagus liquid.
  7. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed.
  8. Continue stirring and adding the remaining asparagus liquid and enough water to make a total of 5 cups of liquid. Allow each addition to be absorbed before adding more. The rice should be tender and the mixture should have a creamy consistency. This will take approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Stir in the asparagus, parsley, cheese, and salt if desired.


  • 1. Lemon Asparagus Risotto: Add the zest of one lemon for a citrusy twist.
  • 2. Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto: Include sautéed mushrooms for an earthy flavor.
  • 3. Vegan Asparagus Risotto: Use nutritional yeast instead of cheese and vegetable stock for a vegan version.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

1. Use Arborio rice or another short-grain rice that is high in amylopectin, a starch that contributes to risotto's creamy texture.

2. Keep the stock hot as you add it to the rice. This helps maintain a steady cooking temperature and ensures even absorption.

3. Stir frequently but not constantly. This allows the rice to cook evenly and release its starches.

4. Add the asparagus towards the end of cooking to preserve its color, texture, and nutritional value.

5. Finish with high-quality cheese for the best flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Asparagus Risotto as a main course with a side of crusty bread or as a side dish with grilled chicken or fish. A light, leafy salad complements the creaminess of the risotto perfectly.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in making risotto is the gradual addition of hot stock to the rice, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. This method releases the rice's starches, resulting in a creamy texture.

Ingredient Substitutions

1. If Arborio rice is unavailable, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice can be used as substitutes.

2. Parmesan can be replaced with Pecorino Romano or Asiago cheese for a different flavor profile.

3. For a dairy-free version, use olive oil instead of butter and omit the cheese or use a dairy-free cheese alternative.

Make Ahead Tips

Risotto is best served fresh, but you can prepare the asparagus and stock in advance. Cook the risotto up to the point before adding the asparagus, then finish cooking just before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Garnish the risotto with additional grated cheese, fresh parsley, and asparagus tips. Serve in a warm bowl to keep the risotto creamy and comforting.

Pairing Recommendations

A crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, pairs beautifully with the fresh flavors of the asparagus and the richness of the risotto.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover risotto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat gently on the stove, adding a little water or stock to loosen the risotto and restore its creamy texture.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Asparagus Risotto contains approximately 300 calories, making it a relatively light yet satisfying meal.


A serving of Asparagus Risotto is rich in carbohydrates, primarily from the Arborio rice, providing the energy needed for daily activities. A single serving contains approximately 45 grams of carbohydrates.


This dish contains a moderate amount of fat, mainly from the vegetable oil and cheese used in the recipe. The total fat content per serving is around 10 grams, with a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats.


Asparagus Risotto offers a good source of protein, with about 8 grams per serving. The protein comes from the cheese and to a lesser extent, the asparagus and rice.

Vitamins and minerals

Asparagus is a nutritional powerhouse, providing an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as folate and several minerals including iron and calcium. These nutrients contribute to the overall health benefits of this dish.


This recipe contains dairy (cheese) and may not be suitable for individuals with a dairy allergy. It is gluten-free, as long as the vegetable stock used is also gluten-free.


Asparagus Risotto is a balanced dish, offering a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with a variety of vitamins and minerals. It's a nutritious option that doesn't compromise on flavor.


Asparagus Risotto is a versatile and nutritious dish that showcases the flavors of spring. With its creamy texture and rich flavor, it's a satisfying meal that can be adapted to suit various dietary needs and preferences. Whether served as a main dish or a side, it's sure to be a hit at any table.

How did I get this recipe?

The moment I found this recipe is etched in my memory forever. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Maria in her cozy little cottage by the countryside. Maria was known for her culinary skills, and I always looked forward to trying out her delicious creations.

On that particular day, Maria invited me to join her in the kitchen as she prepared a special dish for lunch. As I watched her work her magic with the ingredients, I couldn't help but be in awe of her skills. She moved with such grace and confidence, adding just the right amount of each ingredient to create a masterpiece.

As she stirred the pot of creamy risotto, the aroma of butter, garlic, and Parmesan cheese filled the air. And then, she added the star ingredient - fresh asparagus. The vibrant green spears added a pop of color to the dish, and I knew right then and there that I had to learn how to make it myself.

I asked Maria for the recipe, and she smiled warmly before handing me a tattered old cookbook that had been passed down through her family for generations. The pages were yellowed with age, and the ink was fading, but the recipes inside were timeless treasures.

Maria pointed me to the page that contained the recipe for her famous Asparagus Risotto. She explained each step to me in detail, emphasizing the importance of patience and precision when cooking risotto. I listened intently, taking mental notes as she guided me through the process.

After lunch, Maria and I sat at her kitchen table, savoring each spoonful of the creamy risotto. The flavors were a perfect blend of savory and earthy, with the tender asparagus adding a delightful crunch to each bite. I knew then that this dish would become a staple in my own recipe repertoire.

When I returned home, I wasted no time in recreating Maria's Asparagus Risotto in my own kitchen. I followed her instructions to the letter, taking my time to sauté the onions, toast the rice, and slowly add the broth one ladleful at a time. The risotto cooked to perfection, with the rice tender yet still slightly al dente.

As I added the fresh asparagus to the pot, I couldn't help but smile, remembering the day I had first learned this recipe from Maria. The dish came together beautifully, with the asparagus adding a burst of flavor and color to the creamy risotto. I took a bite and closed my eyes, transported back to Maria's cozy kitchen in the countryside.

Over the years, I have made Maria's Asparagus Risotto countless times, each batch just as delicious as the last. I have shared the recipe with friends and family, passing down the tradition of this timeless dish to future generations. And every time I make it, I am reminded of the special bond that Maria and I share, forged over a shared love of good food and even better company.

So, if you ever find yourself craving a comforting and elegant dish that is sure to impress, look no further than Maria's Asparagus Risotto. It may take a bit of time and patience to perfect, but the end result is well worth the effort. Just remember to savor each bite and cherish the memories made in the kitchen with loved ones. After all, that's what cooking is all about - creating lasting connections through the joy of good food.


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