Asparagus Risotto

Is there anything better than a rich, creamy risotto? Jeanette Terry is sharing her method for the perfect risotto as well as some tasty flavor combos to add in!


Risotto is one of those soul comforting dishes. With a little practice, it's an easy go to recipe. It's versatile enough to use just about any vegetable or even leftovers I have on hand. And that is pretty much a dinner trifecta. This recipe is more of a method than an exact list of ingredients, though I will give a few guidelines.


First, you will need arborio rice. It's a medium grain rice that is high in starch giving risotto its characteristic creamy texture. Figure about 1/2 cup dry per serving, which is a generous entree portion size. Use about half that if making this as a side dish.


Your liquid to rice ratio will be approximately 4:1. So for each cup of dry rice, heat 4 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock in a separate pot. Bring it to a boil and turn down to a simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.


Traditional: In a large saute pan, heat 1 TBS butter and 1 TBS olive oil over medium heat. Dice a small onion (approx. 1/2 cup), add to pan, season with a pinch of salt, and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent. Next add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes, but do not brown it. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup white wine and stir until it's almost absorbed. Once the wine is absorbed, start adding your warm stock about 1/2 cup at a time stirring until it's fully absorbed. Add your liquid a little at a time, stir, stir, stir, wait for it to absorb, and repeat. It can take up to 30 minutes. Finish with a few pats of butter and a big handful or two of parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper as needed.


At this point, you can add just about anything you like. For things like fresh herbs, spinach, pesto, or quick-cooking items like peas or crabmeat, just add at the end and let it wilt/cook for 2 to 3 minutes while the last of the liquid is being absorbed. Asparagus does well when blanched and shocked to retain the bright green color. Sauté mushrooms, shrimp, or chicken in a separate pan and fold in at the end. Risotto is also a great way to use up leftover meat or vegetables from a previous meal. If they're precooked just throw them in at the end and voila.

Here are a few flavor ideas to get you started:

  • Asparagus and Mushroom
  • Basil Pesto and Peas
  • Spinach, Shrimp and Roasted Red Peppers
  • Parmesan, Leek, and Fresh Thyme
  • Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Sage

You can find Jeanette Terry online at or @wildabandonkitchen