30-Minute Dinner/ Dinner/ rice/ Side dish/ vegetarian dinner

Lemony asparagus risotto with green peas

31 May 2021 By Aleksandra

This creamy asparagus risotto is a light and delicious spring dish. It has crunchy asparagus and sweet peas, it’s seasoned with thyme, parmesan cheese and finished with a squeeze of lemon and lemon zest. It’s so easy and tasty. You can serve it as a main dish or side dish, for example, with this lemon thyme chicken breast.

Asparagus risotto with peas in a violet bowl with asparagus and lemons in the background.

Ingredients

Asparagus – you’ll need half a bunch of asparagus for this recipe. Out of the asparagus season, you can just omit it and use only peas. This is a great basic risotto recipe!

Tips for buying asparagus: 

  • size: the thinner the asparagus the better it tastes, super-thin asparagus is a true delicacy, and thick asparagus is often woody
  • texture: the stalks should stand up straight, they should not be limp, if you try to bend them they should snap and not be elastic, they should be smooth and not wrinkled, the tips of asparagus should be tightly closed and compact, and not starting to spread out
  • color: the color of asparagus should be rich green, avoid buying it if it has a dull green color, the tips of asparagus should be green with specks of purple, the bottoms of the spears will be white, but they should not be dry and flaky

Buying great asparagus is crucial for this recipe. Woody, tough, stringy asparagus will ruin this risotto. If you don’t have great asparagus, you can peel 2/3 of the bottom of the spears or just make this asparagus soup.

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. If you don’t have cream, you can add butter.

Instead of parmesan cheese, you can use grated pecorino cheese (firm variety). The risotto will taste even better (if you like pecorino’s taste). The parmesan cheese is more mild-tasting and easier to find. I bet gorgonzola cheese would also be great.

Risotto rice – this is a special kind of rice (medium-grain rice) which has a lot of starch that makes risotto creamy and kind of sticky. It can be arborio, carnaroli, or bomba rice. Don’t use other kinds of rice, like regular long-grain rice for this recipe.

Labeled ingredients for asparagus risotto.

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 them later. Cut off only the really woody ends, that are white / very pale green.

Step by step instructions

Before you start:

  • Cut the onions into small cubes, finely chop the garlic. Trim the wooden ends of the asparagus then cut it into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces.
  • Warm up the broth until it’s hot, keep the pot with the broth on the stove over the lowest setting, it should stay hot while the risotto is cooking. (If you add cold broth to the pot, the cooking time of risotto will be much longer as the broth will need to come to a boil every time you ladle a portion to the pot.)
Sauteed onions, garlic and thyme in a pot. Toasted rice in a pot.

STEP 1: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the onions and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until soft.
Add the garlic and thyme, cook for 30 seconds.

STEP 2: Add the rice, cook for a couple of minutes, stirring from time to time until all the grains are covered in oil and translucent at the edges.

Wine and broth are being added to the pot with rice.

STEP 3: Add the wine and cook until it’s evaporated.

STEP 4: Now we’re cooking the rice adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until the broth is absorbed by rice and stirring until the rice is cooked.

Risotto is being cooked in a pot.

Photo 5: Add the first half of a cup of broth, push the rice grains with a spoon, so that all the rice is submerged under the broth. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the rice has absorbed the broth that was above the rice (photo 6).

Risotto is being cooked in a pot. Asparagus added to a pot with risotto.

Photo 7: Now stir the rice with a spatula and cook, stirring until there’s no broth in the pot and the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pot. Add another 1/2 cup of broth and cook as described before.

STEP 5 (photo 8): After about 25 minutes add the asparagus, and cook (adding broth as described above) for about 5-10 minutes until it’s tender but still crunchy. The rice should be cooked al dente at this point (it should be soft but still have a little bit of bite to it), if it’s not soft, cook it a little bit longer.

Peas added to a pot with risotto. Parmesan cheese is being added to risotto.

STEP 6 (photo 9+10): Add the peas, parmesan cheese, cream, lemon zest, and juice, cook for a minute. Season the risotto with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve sprinkled with more parmesan cheese and thyme leaves.

Enjoy!

Serving suggestions

Asparagus risotto with peas in a pot with peas and lemons in the background.

Tips for the best risotto

  • Keep your broth hot all the time while the risotto is cooking. Adding cold broth to the pot will result in a longer cooking time, as the broth will need to be brought to a boil all the time.
  • The amount of broth suggested in the recipe is only an estimate, your risotto may need more broth if, for example, you’re cooking it on a higher heat than I did (liquid evaporates more quickly). It’s good to have more broth on hand and add it if necessary.
  • Serve your risotto on warm plates. The best risotto should flow off the spoon like a wave, when it gets cold, it loses this consistency. It’s best to serve it straight from the pot and transfer it to warm plates. You can warm your plates in the oven – just keep them a few minutes in the oven preheated to 210°F/100°C (you will see the difference!).
  • Don’t overcook your risotto, the rice grains should still have a bite to them!
  • Stir the risotto often, but not too oft (it will cool the rice), and make sure it won’t stick to the pot.

No-stir risotto

There is an alternative preparation method of this risotto, popularized by a well-known chef Kenji Lopez-Alt. It’s a no-stir risotto, which saves a lot of your time, but it is slightly less creamy than the traditional recipe. You will need only 1 and 1/4 cups (300ml) broth when making risotto this way.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Add rice to the broth and stir several times with a spoon, strain through a fine-mesh strainer, then reserve the broth (!). Cook the onion, garlic, rice, and wine as described in the recipe.
  • Add all the broth (it can be cold), stir well, bring to a boil, cover the pot, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the asparagus, bring to a boil, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the peas, cook for 1 minute.
  • Remove the pot from the heat, add the cheese, cream, lemon zest and juice, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Storing and reheating:

Risotto reheats very well but the asparagus and peas will lose their vibrant green color and be dull green the next day. The risotto will be thicker so add a splash of water to dilute it then reheat in a pot until warm and creamy. Keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days.

More risotto recipes

Asparagus risotto with peas in a violet bowl with asparagus and lemons in the background.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Lemony asparagus risotto with green peas

This creamy asparagus risotto is a light and delicious spring dish. It has crunchy asparagus and sweet peas, it’s seasoned with thyme, parmesan cheese and finished with a squeeze of lemon and lemon zest. It’s so easy and tasty.
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Asparagus risotto with peas in a violet bowl.
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No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 324kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon frying oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 teaspoons thyme fresh or dried
  • 1 cup (190g) risotto rice
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) dry white wine
  • 2 3/4 cups (660ml) broth, vegetable or chicken
  • 9 oz (250g) asparagus
  • 1 cup (150g) peas
  • 3 tablespoons (25g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cut the onions into small cubes, finely chop the garlic. Trim the wooden ends of the asparagus then cut it into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces.
  • Warm up the broth until it’s hot, keep the pot with the broth on the stove over the lowest setting, it should stay hot while the risotto is cooking.
  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the onions and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until soft.
  • Add the garlic and thyme, cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the rice, cook for a couple of minutes, stirring from time to time until all the grains are covered in oil and translucent at the edges.
  • Add the wine and cook until it’s evaporated.
  • Add the broth, about 1/2 cup at a time. Add the first half of a cup of broth, push the rice grains with a spoon, so that all the rice is submerged under the broth. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the rice has absorbed the broth that was above the rice. Now stir the rice with a spatula and cook, stirring until there’s no broth in the pot and the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pot. Add another 1/2 cup of broth and cook as described before.
  • After about 25 minutes add the asparagus, and cook (adding broth as described above) for about 5-10 minutes until it’s tender but still crunchy. The rice should be cooked al dente at this point (it should be soft but still have a little bit of bite to it), if it’s not soft, cook it a little bit longer.
  • Add the peas, parmesan cheese, cream, lemon zest and juice, cook for a minute.
  • Season the risotto with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve sprinkled with more parmesan cheese and thyme leaves.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • How to trim asparagus: cut off the woody ends where the green color starts to fade to white, so sometimes you have to cut off a lot, and sometimes almost nothing. The ‘snap method’ is wasteful, the asparagus can break in each section of their length – try it yourself. Cut off only the really woody ends, that are white / very pale green.
  • Buying great asparagus is crucial for this recipe. Woody, tough, stringy asparagus will ruin this risotto. If you don’t have great asparagus, you can peel 2/3 of the bottom of the spears or just make this asparagus soup
  • Instead of parmesan cheese, you can also use pecorino or gorgonzola cheese for more flavor.
  • Keep your broth hot all the time while the risotto is cooking. Adding cold broth to the pot will result in a longer cooking time, as the broth will need to be brought to a boil all the time.
  • The amount of broth suggested in the recipe is only an estimate, your risotto may need more broth if, for example, you’re cooking it on a higher heat than I did (liquid evaporates more quickly). It’s good to have more broth on hand and add it if necessary.
  • Serve your risotto on warm plates. The best risotto should flow off the spoon like a wave, when it gets cold, it loses this consistency. It’s best to serve it straight from the pot and transfer it to warm plates. You can warm your plates in the oven – just keep them a few minutes in the oven preheated to 210°F/100°C (you will see the difference!).
  • Stir the risotto often, but not too oft (it will cool the rice), and make sure it won’t stick to the pot.
  • Storage: Risotto reheats very well but the asparagus and peas will lose their vibrant green color and be dull green the next day. The risotto will be thicker so add a splash of water to dilute it then reheat in a pot until warm and creamy. Keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/4 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine international, Italian
Keyword asparagus risotto recipe, lemon asparagus risotto

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!

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