Made with Arborio rice, asparagus, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice, this asparagus risotto recipe is a simple dish with a rich and creamy texture and fresh and vibrant flavor. Not only does it work well as a vegetarian main course, but it works equally well as a healthy side dish to any protein.
Risotto is often thought of as a fancy restaurant dish but it has very humble beginnings and is relatively inexpensive and easy to make. While it does require a little time and patience to prepare, it’s a highly versatile dish that can be adapted to include any seasonal vegetables that are available.
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This lemon asparagus risotto recipe is made with fresh asparagus and fresh herbs, however, you could certainly use frozen asparagus and/or dried herbs if needed, because it is the addition of the lemon and butter that brings everything together by adding a punch of spring flavor.
Ingredients for Asparagus Risotto
You’ll need the following ingredients to make my lemon asparagus risotto:
- Arborio Rice: This high-starch, short-grain rice is perfect for risotto.
- Asparagus: The star of the show! Look for a bunch with bright green, thin spears, and use local asparagus if possible.
- Onion and Garlic: To create a savory base.
- Broth: You can use chicken broth or vegetable broth.
- Olive Oil and Butter: A combination of the two to add flavor and creaminess.
- Parmesan Cheese: To make the risotto extra creamy, freshly grated is preferable.
- Lemon: Some fresh lemon juice and zest to brighten the dish.
- Fresh Herbs: While optional, you can add some fresh basil, parsley, or mint if you like.
In addition to the above, you’ll also need some salt and pepper to season the risotto.
To Make it Gluten-Free: Ensure that the broth is certified gluten-free.
Red’s Nutrition Tip
If you’re confused as to whether or not risotto is healthy, I can assure you it is. Risotto is made with whole foods and is a good source of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. When paired with a source of protein and vegetables, risotto is a healthy and balanced meal.
How to Make Asparagus Risotto
Here’s how you’ll make it:
- Cook the onion and garlic. Begin by sautéing the onion and garlic in butter and olive oil.
- Add the rice. Once the veggies are tender, add the rice to the pan and allow to toast.
- Add the broth in batches. Add a big ladle of chicken broth to the rice, stir, allow it to absorb, and then continue adding ladles of broth until it’s all incorporated.
- Stir, stir, and stir. Continuously stir the risotto as it cooks, this helps to enhance the creaminess.
- Add the asparagus. When the risotto is almost done, add the diced asparagus and stir to combine.
- Add the lemon, cheese, and butter. When the asparagus is tender, stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, remaining butter, and parmesan cheese.
- Finish with fresh herbs. Finished with a bit of basil or parsley, if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
You can find the detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
The trick to a good risotto is patience and stirring. While you certainly want to use high-quality ingredients to yield the best results, it is the slow and steady addition of liquid and constant stirring that helps to break down the rice and give risotto its distinctive texture and flavor.
As you cook and stir risotto, the starch in the rice breaks down to give risotto its creamy texture. While some recipes add butter, milk, or cheese to make it extra rich and creamy, it is the actual cooking process that gives risotto its distinctive creamy texture.
Risotto goes well with just about any protein, including steak, pork, chicken, shrimp, scallops, lobster, salmon, and other fish.
What to Serve with Asparagus Risotto
Asparagus risotto pairs well with just about any grilled meat, seafood, or salad. If you’re looking to serve risotto as a main course, serve it with a simple green salad, crusty bread, and cheese. If you’re looking to serve risotto as a side dish, serve it with grilled steak, grilled chicken, seared scallops, or grilled shrimp. I think my lemon pepper chicken thighs, lemon garlic chicken thighs, or pesto salmon would make a great addition to this risotto recipe.
Storage + Reheating
To Refrigerate: Allow the risotto to cool completely and then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To Freeze: Leftover risotto can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: While you can reheat leftover risotto in the microwave, reheating risotto on the stovetop yields the best results. In a pot on medium heat, add 1/4 cup of water or broth for every 1 cup of cooked risotto and cook, stirring regularly, until the risotto is warmed through, smooth, and creamy, adding additional splashes of liquid as needed. If you prefer to reheat risotto in the microwave, add the required liquid to your risotto and microwave in 30-second to 1-minute increments, stirring in between, until the risotto has a smooth texture and is warmed through.
More Asparagus Recipes:Print
Lemon Asparagus Risotto
This lemon asparagus risotto is rich, creamy, and easy to make! This recipe works well as a main course or a side dish and stores well in the fridge or freezer for days to come.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Mains
- Method: Stovetop
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 shallot or small onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1/2 bunch of asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut into 1/4” pieces
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs, roughly chopped (optional)
- Black pepper
- In a saucepan, warm the broth until steaming.
- In a separate large pot or pan on medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter.
- Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, a pinch of salt, and pepper, and cook for another 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the edges are translucent, for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Reduce the stove to medium heat, add one ladle of warm broth, and cook, stirring frequently, until almost all the broth has been absorbed, then add another ladle of broth, stir, and cook again. Continue adding one ladle of broth in this manner, stirring frequently, until all of the broth has been used and the rice is tender and creamy, for about 20 to 25 minutes in total.
- With the last batch of broth, add the chopped asparagus and allow to cook until tender, 2-3 minutes, or until it is bright green in color.
- Once cooked, remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and herbs (optional). Stir until well incorporated, smooth, and creamy.
- Taste and season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately with additional cheese, lemon zest, and herbs.
- Any leftover risotto can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 489 calories
- Sugar: 4 grams
- Fat: 22 grams
- Carbohydrates: 61 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 12 grams
Keywords: lemon asparagus risotto, risotto with asparagus