Here’s a springy recipe for Asparagus Risotto that is lemony & creamy yet light and flavorful – delicious on its own as a vegetarian main, or a beautiful base for fish, seafood or mushrooms. Vegan adaptable and Gluten-free. With a video!
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Oh hello, new favorite dinner! Last weekend we made this Asparagus Risotto for Easter and topped with simple roasted salmon, and then last night we had it one more time, but this time topped it with Maitake mushrooms. Both were delicious.
Whether you serve it as a vegetarian main, or as a base or side dish for fish or seafood, we think you’ll love it.
Leeks, basil and lemon give this Asparagus Risotto its flavor here and it is made “creamy” by blending up some of the asparagus and basil into a “sauce” that is folded in right in the risotto before serving- not only making it creamy, but giving it a vibrant spring green hue and burst of flavor.
Very simple ingredients treated slightly differently.
How to make Asparagus Risotto! | 60-second video
If feeling fancy, or entertaining, you could also make the Leek Oil from the tops of the leeks, elevating the Asparagus Risotto even further.
Start by trimming the tough ends off the asparagus.
How to make Asparagus Risotto:
Trim the tough ends off the asparagus.
Then trim the asparagus tops and set them aside ( these will be the garnish for the top).
Next cut the middle of the asparagus into one-inch pieces. Take out 1 1/2 cups of the “middles” and place them in small pot of boiling water (to blanch) adding the leftover “middles” to the asparagus tips.
Blanch 1 1/2 cups of asparagus “middles”until tender, but still vibrant.
Drain, reserving 1 cup of hot water.
Blend the tender asparagus with the water to make a vibrant green sauce. Use a blender or immersion blender.
Add in in fresh basil and olive oil and blend.
When the asparagus risotto is done, you’ll fold this creamy sauce in at the very end for a burst of color and flavor – so set this aside for now.
Then start the Asparagus Risotto (or if you are a good multi-tasker you could be doing this at the same time as above). Saute leeks and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add the arborio rice and stir to coat. Feel free to deglaze with white wine or skip this step if you prefer.
One cup at a time, add hot veggie broth or stock, stirring, letting the rice absorb the liquid slowly, before adding more.
I used 4 cups hot water and two teaspoons veggie bouillon.
You’ll need about 3 1/2- 4 cups to get the rice al dente.
When you add the last cup of veggie stock, add the remaining asparagus and tips to the risotto. They will only need a few minutes to cook, and by the time the liquid is absorbed, they should be just about perfect.
Now the fun part. Once the liquid is absorbed and the rice is creamy and al dente, and you are about to serve, pour in the creamy asparagus -basil mixture.
Give a good stir and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
What goes with Asparagus Risotto?
You can keep it simple, and serve Asparagus Risotto on its own for a healthy vegetarian or vegan meal, or serve Asparagus Risotto with fish or seafood like salmon, halibut, sauteed shrimp, scallops, or add sauteed mushrooms.
Can you make Asparagus risotto in an Instant Pot?
Yes, you can make Asparagus risotto in an Instant Pot, reducing the stock to two cups. Blanch the asparagus separately on the stove, make the creamy sauce, adding both to the instant pot AFTER pressure cooking.
Can Aspargus Risotto be made vegan?
Yes, you could easily keep Asparagus Risotto vegan, leaving out the cheese, or subbing a vegan cheese. Drizzle with a little olive oil or make the leek oil!
How to make Asparagus Risotto with Maitake Mushrooms
To serve the risotto with Maitake Mushrooms, pan-sear them separately.
TIP: To clean Maitake mushrooms, brush off any dirt from the root end, and do not get wet.
Maitake mushrooms usually come in big round clusters, so either slice them in half or thirds (from the top, down through the root end) or break them apart a little.
Pan sear in a skillet, in olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper, over medium heat.
TIP: Flatten them a little with the back of a spatula, browning the undersides, then flip. Flattening helps get all the leaves cooked more evenly.
Cook until the inner leaves are tender and the edges are a little crispy.
You could toss some pinenuts in the pan along with the mushrooms at the end if you want to add another layer of texture to the Risotto.
Other recipes you may like:
- Leek oil
- Instant Pot Risotto!
- Mushroom Risotto with Frizzled Leeks
- Summer Tomato Risotto with Saffron
- Spring Pea Risotto with Halibut
- Seared Black Cod with Meyer Lemon Risotto and Gremolata
- Creamy Asparagus Soup
- Lemony Roasted Asparagus
- Fennel Crusted Halibut with Asparagus Sauce