A basic risotto recipe with an addition of fresh spring asparagus and micro herbs makes this Spring Asparagus Risotto an outstanding dinner option!
Whenever I am in an Italian restaurant I seem to lean towards risottos. I do love pasta but something about warm, oozy and cheesy rice just sings to my soul.
I used to be obsessed about perfecting my risottos and played with flavours a lot but all my attempts were only appreciated by my husband. My kids were firmly against risotto and I couldn’t figure out why.
To make a long story short I stopped making them for family dinners but I continued with my risotto obsession whenever I was on my own.
Yesterday I felt especially inspired by incredibly fresh looking asparagus and a micro herb mix in my fridge. They looked so green and springy, I felt that a creamy risotto would be the perfect vessel to show them off!
I thought that the vibrant greens would provide a perfect contrast in flavour and texture to the plump and satisfying Arborio rice in my risotto. And that is how this spring asparagus risotto came to be!
Lately I’ve been buying various micro herb mixes. The young and tender shoots are especially lovely in salads, devilled eggs but also so beautiful when combined with warm and comforting dishes. They lift them up, add flavour effortlessly, and frankly they look gorgeous!
Who wouldn’t be seduced by a bowl of warm and lucious risotto topped with fragrant herbs?! It turns out everyone! Even my children, who happened to be home on their school break and couldn’t wait for me to finish the shoot, so they could dig in.
“But you don’t like risotto!!”, I exclaimed after yet another request to eat my spring asparagus risotto while I was photographing it. “I don’t??” asked my daughter puzzled. Apparently that dislike was firmly in the past, as they happily gobbled my asparagus risotto and demanded to have it for dinner as well.
Tips for making creamy risotto:
- Have hot stock ready, so you don’t bring the temperature down with every ladleful.
- Salt to taste but go light on cheese as it will make your risotto too stodgy. Risottos love salt!
- Cook risotto in a deep pan and stir often to achieve the creamy texture, which comes from the starch in rice, NOT from the cheese.
- Every time you add hot stock to your pan it should be just slightly above the rice level as in pictures below.
- Just like pasta your rice should be cooked al dente. If it’s soft all the way through it’s overcooked.
- Your risotto should be loose in texture and slightly jiggly when served in a bowl.
- My last and best trick is to add a couple tablespoons of butter at the end, turn the heat off and cover with a lid for 5 minutes.
The point of my story is that kids change, they grow up and their tastebuds grow with them, so if you are in a similar situation, I suggest to give it a try and see if they’d changed their minds like mine did!
- 1 onion small, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 2 cups/400g Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup/75ml white wine dry
- 5 cups/ 1.25 litre vegetable or chicken stock
- 15 spears asparagus chopped, tips reserved
- 1 cup/100g Parmesan cheese grated
- 2 tbsp butter
- salt to taste
- micro herbs
- Put the stock in a pot and bring it to a boil. Wash the asparagus and cut off the tips, cut the rest of the stalks crosswise in 1 cm pieces. Chop up onion and garlic and cook them in olive oil in a large deep pan over low heat for 7-10 minutes.
- Turn the heat to medium and add rice, and fry it while stirring for 2-3 minutes, add the wine and continue stirring until the wine evaporated.
- Add 1 cup of the stock (see photos in the post how much the stock should cover the rice) and cook over low/medium heat until the stock is absorbed by the rice, add the chopped asparagus reserving the tips to the rice, continue adding a ladle of the stock each time you see the risotto getting a bit dry. Stir for about 20-30 seconds after each addition of the stock to bring out the starch for a creamier risotto.
- While your risotto is cooking, quickly cook the asparagus tips. They will take 5-7 minutes, so arrange for both asparagus and risotto be done at approximately the same time.
- When all your stock is gone taste your rice to make sure it’s cooked, if it’s not add a ladleful of water.
- When the rice is the right texture remove it from the heat and stir freshly grated parmesan into it, stir, then add butter, cover with and let it sit or 5 minutes. Place a few asparagus spears and a small bunch of micro herbs into each bowl before serving.