Asparagus and Lemon Risotto

Creamy, rich risotto with fresh in-season asparagus and bright zingy lemon. The perfect meal for two.

The ideal risotto for spring: Asparagus and Lemon Risotto. Bright, zesty lemon lifts nearly every dish it’s added to and it’s the perfect partner for fresh, new season asparagus.

I always make sure to eat as much asparagus as I can get my hands on as it’s so seasonal, arriving with a bang with the first warm days of spring and gone again before the heat of summer.

Asparagus and Lemon Risotto
Asparagrus and Lemons

Ingredients

Lemon and Asparagus in a risotto might sound unusual, but the combination of these two ingredients results in a warmly comforting risotto that is light and fresh and somehow just right.

The lemon lifts and enhances the asparagus and the salty Parmesan cheese rounds everything off. You’ll need the following ingredietns to make this risotto:

  • Asparagus: Fresh, new season asparagus is best for this risotto, so it’s brilliant in springtime.
  • Rice: You’ll need a suitable risotto rice for risotto, either arborio or carnaroli are the best varieties.
  • Stock / Broth: A good quality vegetable or chicken stock will give your risotto body and flavour. If you are really in a pinch, use powdered stock, but keep an eye on the saltiness of the dish.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Either true Parmigiana Reggiano cheese, or Grana Padano are suitable for risotto.
  • Lemon Zest: You need both the finely grated zest and the juice of a lemon. Be sure to get an organic lemon so that the skin hasn’t been treated.
  • White wine: I always have some inexpensive white wine for cooking with, I save the good stuff for drinking!
  • Olive oil and butter: add a glorious richness to the finished dish.
  • Onion and Garlic: Gently sautéed onion and garlic add a delicate sweetness and round out the flavours in this risotto.
Onions in the Sunshine

The complete ingredient list and detailed instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Is risotto difficult to make?

Lots of people are put off making risotto because they’ve heard you have to slave over the pot, stirring frantically for hours or the whole thing will be ruined. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Blanched and Chopped Asparagus
Arborio Rice

Take it easy and your risotto will be delicious

Risotto is an incredibly relaxing dish to make, slowly simmered and stirred, and while it does require your attention, it’s not demanding.

Asparagus and Lemon Risotto

It’S all about LA dolce vita! THink Italian!

You’re cooking Italian food here! Put on some cool Italian tunes and pour a nice glass of pinot grigio. I think that as the risotto gets a glass of wine, it’s only fair that the cook should get one too! Give it a try and see just how easy it is.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I can’t get arborio rice. Can I still make risotto?

While the purists would be horrified, nearly any rice will make a risotto of some style, the texture and timings will be different. Ideally, you want a short to medium grain rice as this will produce the most creamy risotto, so stick to arborio or carnaroli if possible.

Is this recipe suitable for vegetarians?

You’ll need to find a vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese as Parmesan contains meat product.

I’m scared of making risotto! Is it true I have to stir it constantly?

While risotto requires your attention and that you stay nearby, cooking it over a fairly gentle heat means you only really need to stir it every 30 seconds or so. Just keep an eye on it, don’t cook it over a raging heat and you’ll be fine.

Can I make a double batch?

Absolutely! I often do as it reheats wonderfully or you can use it to make Arancini or Italian rice balls (recipe coming soon!)

Asparagus and Lemon Risotto
Asparagus and Lemon Risotto

Can You Reheat Risotto?

Yes! It is easy to reheat risotto and perfectly delicious. I use two different methods, on the stove top and in the oven.

Method 1 (Stovetop): Loosen the risotto with a few tablespoons of water and heat through, stirring occasionally over a low heat. This method produces a creamier risotto.

Method 2 (Oven): Transfer the risotto to an oven-proof dish, sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of water and cover tightly with foil. Bake in an oven at 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4 for 20-30 minutes until warmed through.

ASPARAGUS AND LEMON RISOTTO RECIPE

Asparagus and Lemon Risotto

Asparagus and Lemon Risotto

Jay Wadams
Creamy, rich risotto with fresh in-season asparagus and bright zingy lemon. The perfect meal for two.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients
 

  • 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock, from stock cubes or powder is fine
  • 1 bunch asparagus approx. 12 spears, , trimmed and cut into 3
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 250 g arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 125 ml dry white wine
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 50 g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper

to serve:

  • extra Parmesan
  • finely sliced lemon zest, optional

Instructions
 

  • COOK THE ASPARAGUS: Bring the stock to the boil, cook the asparagus in the stock with the lid on for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and refresh under cold, running water and set aside. Keep the stock warm.
  • SAUTÉ THE ONION: In a wide, heavy-based saucepan heat the olive oil and one tablespoon of the butter until the butter has melted. Cook the onion gently for 4-5 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for another minute, stirring all the time.
  • ADD THE RICE: Add the rice to the pan and stir well to coat with the oil and butter, then pour the wine into the pan, stirring to de-glaze the pan. Allow to bubble until mostly evaporated.
  • COOK THE RISOTTO: Add the stock to the pan, one ladleful at a time, stirring occasionally and allowing the stock to be nearly completely absorbed before you add the next ladleful. I set a timer for 20 minutes but it may take a little longer or less depending on your specific rice. Do stay with the pan and don’t allow the rice to catch on the bottom.
  • TEST AND SEASON: When the last ladleful of stock has nearly evaporated, test the rice to make sure it is done to your liking. Remove from the heat, sprinkle over the Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter and the asparagus, squeeze over the lemon juice then cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • STIR AND SERVE: Stir well before serving in warmed bowls. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve with extra parmesan on the side. Top with a few strands of very finely sliced lemon zest if you like.

Notes

Imperial measurements are approximate. For best results weigh your ingredients using an electric scale like the one below.

Recommended Equipment

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Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 858kcal | Carbohydrates: 123g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 2490mg | Potassium: 713mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 3310IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 381mg | Iron: 11mg
Tried this recipe?Leave a review or a star rating and let me know how it was! Use the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram so I can see your delicious creations.
Course | Appetizer
Cuisine | Italian
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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author, food photographer and Le Cordon Bleu Gastronomy and Nutrition graduate. Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

Articles: 339

4 Comments

  1. That looks great i will try and make it i hope my one looks use good use your one thanks for sharing your recipe have a great day thanks

  2. Hi, Jay
    Made this recipe for dinner last night. It was the 2nd time in as many weeks. Absolutely delicious, & your method is accurate!
    Thanks,
    Leslie

    • Hi Leslie! Thank you so much for your kind words! I am am so pleased you enjoyed this recipe, it’s a great fresh way to enjoy risotto and of course my springtime favourite, fresh asparagus, yum! J.

5 from 6 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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