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Lemony Asparagus Risotto with leeks and basil-light and creamy with vibrant color and flavor, perfect for spring! A tasty vegetarian meal, or beautiful base for fish, seafood or mushrooms! #asparagus #risotto #springrecipes

Asparagus Risotto Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 45 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: vegetarian, main,
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This Asparagus Risotto recipe is a delicious celebration of spring! It is vibrant, lemony, and creamy, made with fresh asparagus, lemon, leeks, and basil.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 large leek (or white onion, diced)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup white wine, optional- or skip it
  • 3 1/2 cups hot vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves (or sub flat leaf parsley)
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Optional Garnish: lemon zest, basil ribbons, pecorino cheese, optional toasted pinenuts (or other nuts or seeds), chili flakes (Urfa biber is nice) Leek oil (optional) or a drizzle of olive oil.

Instructions

Read the directions all the way through so you get a general idea of things here. 🙂

  1. Bring a small pot of salted water to boil on the stove to blanch asparagus.
  2. Prep the asparagus: Cut the fibrous ends off the asparagus and discard. (You can tell where this is by breaking an end off with your fingers, usually about an inch from bottom- and using this as a guide, cut the rest to match. Toss all the fibrous ends.)  Cut the pretty tips off (about 1 1/2 inches) and set them aside.  Cut the “middles” into 1-inch pieces. Take 1 1/2 cups of the “middles” and set aside (to blanch and blend into a creamy asparagus sauce) which we will stir into the risotto at the end to give it it’s beautiful vibrant color and creamy texture. Add any remaining “middles” to the tips pile and keep these set-aside. So you’ll have two piles of asparagus,  1 1/2 cups of the “middles”  and one with the tips and leftover middles. Ha!
  3. Make the asparagus puree: In the small pot of boiling water, blanch the 1 1/2 cups of asparagus “middles” (without the tips) until tender and vibrant, about 5 minutes, depending on size. Drain, and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.  Place both in the blender.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and basil leaves and blend until silky smooth. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender.) Set this aside to add to the risotto at the end.
  4. Start Risotto: Thinly slice leeks into half-moons, and rinsing away any dirt, strain. (Rinsing will also help prevent them form scorching.) Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add leeks and garlic and saute until softened and fragrant.
  5. Add arborio rice and stir to coat, one minute. Deglaze with white wine (if using) and cook the wine  off. Add 1 cup hot veggie broth, scraping up any browned bits, bring to a gentle simmer, over med-low heat stirring occasionally, letting the rice absorb the all the broth. 
  6. Continue adding the hot broth 1 cup at a time, letting the rice absorb it slowly, each time, stirring often. ***At the same time that you add the last 1/2 cup of broth, add the fresh asparagus tips, letting them cook in the risotto 3 minutes or so. At this point, rice should be creamy yet slightly al dente. 
  7. Combine: Stir in blended asparagus “puree”, add the salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and taste.  Adjust salt, pepper and lemon to taste. (Pecorino will add more depth and flavor here.)  Heat gently over low heat letting it thicken a bit if you like, but taking care not to cook too long here, or you’ll lose the vibrant color.
  8. Divide among bowls, garnish with pecorino cheese, lemon zest and chili flakes or a drizzle of the optional leek oil.

Notes

To make this go faster, start the risotto and asparagus blanching at the same time- great for multitaskers! 😉

If you’d like to add a protein, add 1 cup peas or edamame to the risotto, or top the risotto with fish or seafood- scallops, shrimp, salmon, chicken or halibut, etc.

Sauteed mushrooms are nice here too, along with a drizzle of truffle oil. ;). Photos include Maitake Mushrooms.

Feel free to add toasted nuts or seeds.

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.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 2/3 cups with 1 tablespoon Romano cheese
  • Calories: 357
  • Sugar: 7.2 g
  • Sodium: 1268.9 mg
  • Fat: 21.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35.5 g
  • Fiber: 3.8 g
  • Protein: 8.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 9.8 mg