My favorite thing about spring is the balance between beautiful produce and slightly chilly weather. This calls for still keeping it cozy with foods like risotto. This risotto celebrates my favorite spring vegetable: asparagus. In addition to the asparagus are bright spring onions, spinach and tons and tons of Parmesan. I have trouble making risotto without adding tablespoon after tablespoon of butter but I somehow managed to restrain myself at 4 tablespoons—it’s tough!
This risotto is delicious and warm yet still feels light and spring-like. It doesn’t weight you down. The asparagus and spinach and onion puree add the most beautiful green hue to this risotto and since it’s added toward the end, it doesn’t overcook. The lemon add just the perfect amount of brightness too.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/4 pound asparagus, trimmed and chopped
- 1/2 cup packed fresh spinach
- 2 spring onions, white and pale green parts sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 3/4 cup Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 to 3 cups warm vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Zest from 1/2 lemon
- In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter. When melted, add the asparagus, spinach, onions, garlic cloves and pinch of salt. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until asparagus and spinach are bright green. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until mixture looks like a puree. If you need to, feel free to add a splash or two of chicken broth to the mixture to make it more puree-like. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in the same saucepan (no need to wash it out), melt another tablespoon of butter, set over medium heat. Add the rice and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook for a few minutes, stirring to ensure no browning on the rice occurs. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the white wine and 1/4 cup broth and cook, stirring the entire time, until mostly evaporated. Continue this process of adding the broth, in 1/4 cup increments, over and over again, for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the rice has bloomed and is cooked. You should need about 2 to 3 cups broth when all said and done. Lastly, stir in the reserved green puree, Parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper and lemon zest and last 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook for a few more minutes until bubbly and perfect. If needed (I like my risotto to spread), add a few more splashes of broth, stir and serve. Top with more Parmesan and freshly cracked pepper.
Yield: 6 servings
Adrianna Adarme is a food blogger and author living in Los Angeles, California. She writes the blog A Cozy Kitchen, where she shares comforting, everyday recipes from her kitchen. She recently authored her first cookbook, PANCAKES: 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack. She’s a lover of breakfast, pie (and sometimes even pie for breakfast), corgis and cute things. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.