Creamy no-stir risotto with crunchy asparagus and peas. Seasoned with thyme, garlic, lemon juice, and zest and sprinkled with basil leaves and parmesan cheese. It‘s simple and quick to prepare. You can serve it as a main dish or side dish, with this lemon thyme chicken breast or with this cream of asparagus soup with goat cheese.
How to make lemony asparagus risotto with green peas – step by step:
1. Start by dicing the onion and slicing the garlic. Next, trim the asparagus and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 cm pieces.
How to trim asparagus:
It‘s important to mention how to cut off the woody ends of the asparagus. The ‘snap method’ is wasteful, the asparagus can break in each section of their length – try it yourself.
How to trim asparagus properly: cut off the woody ends when the green color starts to fade to white, so sometimes you have to cut off a lot, and sometimes almost nothing. Don’t throw them away though! You can add them to your homemade broth or freeze and use later. Cut off only the really woody ends, that are white / very pale green.
2. + 3. Add the rice to the broth, stir a couple of times with a spoon, strain on a fine-mesh strainer, set aside (reserve the broth!).
4. Sautee the onion with dried thyme until soft and translucent, then add the garlic and cook briefly, until fragrant. If you have fresh thyme on hand, it will taste even better, but add it along with the garlic.
5. Next, move the onions to the side of the pot, increase the heat and add the rice, toast it for about 2 minutes, its edges should be translucent and some grains should be golden in color. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it evaporates. Choose a wine, that you like to drink! It doesn’t have to be expensive.
6. Add the broth, all at once! and cook 5 minutes over low heat.
I know this is not the usual way of making risotto, but I prefer it because it’s quicker and tastes as good as the one made the traditional way. Until I stumbled upon this method on Serious Eats, I’m never making risotto the other way. I wrote a little more about it in this post: pear and thyme risotto or for more on this topic you can read on Serious Eats. So, you really don’t have to stir the risotto constantly. You can pour in all the broth and in the meantime relax (or clean up the kitchen..).
You can use vegetable broth or chicken broth. Best is homemade but when using store-bought make sure to get a low-sodium broth.
7. Add the asparagus, bring to a boil, cook 8 minutes.
8. Add the peas (I used frozen) and cook for a minute. At this stage, the risotto may look too runny but don’t worry, when you take it off the heat it will start to cool down and thicken quickly.
9. Add the cream, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice and zest. Adding the lemon is really important, it brightens up the whole dish!
You can use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream or don’t add it at all. I like this addition, it makes the risotto even more creamy.
Instead of parmesan cheese, you can use grated pecorino cheese (firm variety). The risotto will taste even better (if you like pecorino’ taste). The parmesan cheese is more mild-tasting and easier to find.
In the end, just season the risotto with salt and pepper and optionally sprinkle with basil leaves. Serve right away! When it cools down it’s no longer that creamy and can be clumpy. You could serve it on warm plates, just pop them in the oven, heated to the lowest temperature until slightly warmed up. Pour in the risotto and enjoy!
How to make this asparagus risotto the traditional way:
Sautee the onion, garlic, thyme, as described in the recipe, then the rice (without adding it to the broth), add the wine and cook until evaporated. Next, add a ladle of broth and cook stirring until the rice absorbs it. Repeat until you use up all the broth. Proceed as in the recipe.
If you like this recipe, you may also like my other risotto recipes:
Lemony asparagus risotto with green peas
- 1 small onion
- 1.5 teaspoons dried thyme or fresh thyme leaves
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 cup risotto rice 7 oz / 200g, arborio/carnaroli/bomba
- 4 tablespoons dry white wine 60ml
- 2.5 cups + 4 Tbsp vegetable or chicken broth 650ml
- 9 oz green asparagus 250g, about 10 spears
- 1 cup green peas 150g, I used frozen peas
- 3 heaped tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 25g, or pecorino cheese
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream 30-36%, optional
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or to taste
- salt and black pepper to taste
- fresh basil leaves to sprinkle, optional
- Dice the onion, cut the garlic into thin slices.
- Trim the asparagus and cut into 1-inch/2.5 cm pieces, leaving the heads whole.
- Add the rice to the broth and stir several times with a spoon, strain through a fine-mesh strainer, reserve the broth (!). Set aside.
- In a large pot, heat the oil, add the onion and dried thyme, cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. If you‘re using fresh thyme add it with the garlic.
- Move the onion and garlic to the side of the pan (so that they don’t cook) and add the drained rice, turn heat up to medium high and cook for 2 minutes, until the edges become translucent and the rice is slightly golden.
- Mix the rice with onion and garlic, then add the wine, cook for 30 seconds until completely evaporated.
- Add the broth (it can be cold), stir well, bring to a boil, cover and cook over low leat for 5 minutes.
- Add the asparagus, bring to a boil, cook for a further 8 minutes.
- Add the green peas, bring to the boil, cook for 1 minute. The rice should be cooked al dente.
- Take the pot off the heat, add the parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and juice, cream, season with salt and pepper to taste. The risotto should be creamy and flow when spooned onto a plate (not stick together in a clump).
- Serve right away, preferably on warm plates.
- Sprinkle with basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese.
- The risotto will be less creamy when cooled. It‘s best to serve it on warm plates, they can be warmed up in the oven, preheated to 80 °C / 176 °F.
- Calories count = 1 serving (½ of the recipe).
- 1 cup is 240 ml
- How to make this asparagus risotto the traditional way: Sautee the onion, garlic, thyme, as described in the recipe, then the rice (without adding it to the broth), add the wine and cook until evaporated. Next, add a ladle of broth and cook stirring until the rice absorbs it. Repeat until you use up all the broth. Proceed as in the recipe.
- Asparagus risotto can be served as a main dish or as a side dish, with baked/pan-fried chicken breast or cream of asparagus soup.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!