Risotto with asparagus

Risotto with asparagus

Modern Italian Food
Earl Carter

Asparagus can vary a lot in quality. Find them green and firm, or reject them and complain. The price is often too high, and the farmers don’t get to see much of that money at all. If the prices in supermarkets were lower the farmers would sell a lot more produce and the public would be happier and better educated in food matters.

When you trim the asparagus, keep the hard woody stalks: you can cook them in a little water to extract that special asparagus flavour for use in stocks and soups.


Quantity Ingredient
40g butter
40ml olive oil
1 small brown onion, peeled and finely diced
400g asparagus, trimmed and cut into small pieces
200g italian risotto rice
50ml white wine
2 litres * golden chicken stock [rid:9937], kept simmering
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
parmesan, to taste


  1. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-based pan and cook the onion until soft. Add the asparagus pieces (except the spears) and cook a little longer. Add the rice and the wine and ‘toast’ the rice by frying it until it has absorbed all the wine and the fat.
  2. After a minute or so, begin to add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly. As the risotto is cooking, be careful not to drown the rice or allow it to become too dry. Cook for 15–20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked, but with each grain still slightly firm in the centre. Taste for salt and pepper – if you are using a well-made, good-quality stock you will need very little extra salt.
  3. Towards the end of the cooking time, add the asparagus spears. This will give the risotto a better, brighter look. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and a generous amount of cheese. Cover for 2 minutes to allow the butter and cheese to melt into the rice, then serve straightaway.
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