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Risotto with Balsamic-Roasted Asparagus and Peas

Risotto with Balsamic-Roasted Asparagus and Peas


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The perfect recipe for your next weekend dinner! A spring risotto that's comforting and hearty yet fresh and vibrant, this one's sure to be in your family's rotation for years.

This post is written in partnership with Filippo Berio

Risotto has a reputation of being finicky and tricky, but in reality it’s not difficult when you’re working with the right ingredients.

Here, asparagus roasted in extra-virgin olive oil and coated with a balsamic glaze is the star of the show with only a few supporting cast members: good stock, peas, onions, lemon, Parmesan, and of course, rice. Comfort in a bowl awaits.

Video! How to Make Risotto with Balsamic-Roasted Asparagus

Which Rice Should I Use?

For traditional style risotto, you need short-grain, starchy rice such Italian Arborio or Carnaroli. Asian or Spanish bomba short-grain rice will also work in a pinch.

The Best Stock For the Job

Your stock should taste good enough to sip by itself; no amount of added cheese can rescue the risotto if the stock is not good.

For that reason, we love homemade stock because the flavor is bold and clean. Of course, if you’re a vegetarian, a vegetable stock is a great option, too. And if you’re in a hurry, there’s no shame in store bought!

Although many recipes recommend adding hot stock to the pot when you’re making your risotto, we’ve found that it’s not a necessary step—you can use hot stock if you want, but even cold or room temperature stock will produce the results you want.

Prepping the Veggies!

Thick asparagus spears are the best for roasting, since the thin spears tend to dry out more quickly in the oven. To preserve more of the spears, instead of trimming the tough ends by breaking them, slice off about 1 inch from the bottom and peel the stalks. After peeling, the stems will be tender rather than tough when they are roasted.

As for the peas, use either frozen or fresh. If you go the frozen route, defrost them quickly by covering them with boiling or very hot water, leave for a minute or two, and then drain. They can be stirred into the rice and cooked just long enough to reheat them. If you use fresh peas, simply stir them into the risotto a few minutes before it is ready. They only take a few minutes to cook.

How to Get the Creamiest Risotto?

We’ve got a few tips up our sleeve that will guarantee you have winning risotto each and every time:

  • Use a deep saucepan, as opposed to a wide one, as it’ll help limit evaporation (and you want all that liquid to stay put so your rice doesn’t dry out).
  • You can add about 2 cups of stock to the pot initially, and when it’s absorbed, begin adding it more slowly, stirring, and waiting until it is absorbed before adding more. This way, the rice becomes creamier with each addition.

Once the rice is al dente (a grain of rice should be tender but show a speck of white in the middle when you bite into it) stir in the peas, asparagus, and Parmesan. Then add a final splash of stock just before serving to create a saucy consistency.

Risotto with Balsamic-Roasted Asparagus and Peas Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 pound asparagus, thick ends trimmed and discarded
  • 1/4 cup Filippo Berio Extra Virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Filippo Berio Balsamic Glaze
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 5 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, homemade or store bought
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, about 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2 Prep the asparagus: Working with one asparagus spear at a time, lay each on a flat surface. With a vegetable peeler, peel away the thin outer layer of each spear, starting about 3-inches below the tip and working toward the end.

Lay the spears on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Toss to coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil and spread out in a nice, even row.

3 Roast the asparagus: Roast for 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a paring knife. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

When cool enough to handle, cut the spears into 1-inch pieces. Set aside while you make the risotto.

4 Sauté the onions: In a 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.

5 Add the rice: Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the grains are warm and coated with olive oil.

6 Begin adding broth: Add 2 cups of the stock to the pot and adjust the heat so that it maintains a steady simmer. When the stock is mostly absorbed, continue to add the stock in 1/2-cup increments, stirring regularly until it’s almost absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.

The rice should look like shiny porridge and should be slightly al dente, but err on the side of undercooking, since it will continue to cook and absorb liquid off the heat. Taste and add more salt if needed.

5 Finish the risotto: Towards the end of cooking, stir in the peas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and stir over the heat until they are warm.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the lemon zest, juice and Parmesan. Serve in bowls with more Parmesan, if you like.

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Spring Risotto with Asparagus & Peas

Comforting to eat — and comforting to make, in a mindless, repetitive sort of way — risotto is a northern Italian rice dish cooked gently until it reaches a creamy consistency. Most people think of it as a restaurant-style dish, but it’s actually quite simple to make with just a few ingredients. The only thing to keep in mind is that it requires frequent stirring, so you need to stay close to the stove for 25 minutes while it cooks.

This spring risotto calls for seasonal vegetables but there’s lots of room for creativity and improvisation. Don’t feel like asparagus? Substitute zucchini or mushrooms. Going vegetarian? Replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth. Want to fancy it up? Stir in some fresh herbs at the end. You really can’t go wrong as long as you stick to the basic formula. Serve this spring risotto as a meatless main course or as a side to a simply cooked main dish, like pan-seared salmon or perfectly grilled chicken breasts.


Zero Waste Vegetable Risotto

6 cups water
1 yellow onion, finely diced (peels rinsed and reserved for stock)
2 garlic cloves, minced (garlic skins rinsed and reserved for stock)
4 sprigs thyme (leaves and stems separated)
8 ounces of asparagus (root ends cut off and reserved for stock)
8 ounces mushrooms of choice (alternatively 15-20 leftover mushroom stems)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
⅓ cup shelled fresh green peas (substitute with frozen)
2 tablespoons Cabot Unsalted Butter
6 ounces Cabot Vermont Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated, (about 1½ cups) plus more for topping
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Interested in creating this tasty recipe?

Get the ingredients you need at a convenient nearby location.

Directions

Prep: 15 mins | Cook: 40 mins | Total: 60 mins

MAKE the vegetable stock: Add the water, onion peels, garlic skins, thyme stems, and asparagus root ends to a saucepan and bring to a boil.

REDUCE the heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

CHOP the mushrooms into small pieces, including the stems, and set aside.

PREPARE the asparagus by cutting off the tips set aside. Slice the stalks of the asparagus into thin disks and place with the rest of the prepared vegetables.

HEAT the olive oil in a deep-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.

ADD in the onions and garlic and stir, cooking until the onions soften and become translucent.

ADD in the chopped asparagus and the Arborio rice and stir everything together. Cook while stirring continuously, until the rice grains look pearly.

POUR the wine into the pan followed by the thyme leaves and stir until the rice has absorbed all of the wine.

STRAIN the vegetable stock using a fine mesh strainer.

ADD the stock, a ladle or two at a time, to the pan with the rice and stir. When most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice add another ladle of stock. Continue this process allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more stock. Once the rice is cooked through and the risotto looks creamy without being too saucy, stop adding stock. You may use the entire amount of stock, but it is important to continuously check for the correct consistency throughout the process.

ADD the peas and stir, cooking for about 1 minute.

REMOVE the risotto from the heat and stir in the butter and grated cheddar cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

ALLOW the risotto to sit for a few minutes to set and then serve with additional cheddar grated over the top.


Recipe Summary

  • 3 ½ cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup olive oil, or more to taste, divided
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, divided
  • ½ pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces on the bias
  • ⅓ pound fresh morel mushrooms, halved
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ tablespoons high-quality balsamic vinegar (Optional)

Place chicken stock in a small saucepan over medium heat bring to a simmer.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until butter starts to bubble. Add asparagus and morel mushrooms saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate with any accumulated juices.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in the same saucepan. Add shallot cook and stir until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in arborio rice and cook until it starts to toast, about 1 minute. Pour in wine and cook until evaporated. Stir in thyme.

Pour 1/4 cup of the simmering stock over the rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed. Repeat with remaining stock until rice is tender yet firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Stir in asparagus and mushrooms with their juices and continue until flavors combine, about 3 minutes more.

Remove rice from the heat. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and parsley. Season with salt and black pepper. Garnish with balsamic vinegar and additional olive oil before serving.


Risotto With Asparagus, Fiddleheads, or Snap Peas (Recipe)

I just ran across a recipe for asparagus risotto riddled with dire warnings about how difficult it is to get the asparagus just so, and the &ldquoconstant vigilance&rdquo required to cook the rice to the right degree of doneness without ruining everything. The writer further intimidates anyone contemplating having a go at risotto by noting that even skilled chefs have a hard time getting it right.

To which I respond: oh, hooey. It&rsquos true that you have to stand at the stove and stir for 25 minutes, but how complicated is that? The shops are full of local asparagus and peas, and even fiddlehead ferns if you&rsquore lucky, and there&rsquos nothing better than a creamy risotto studded with something fresh and green.

I just made one with fiddleheads that I picked from the ostrich ferns emerging in the woodsy part of my garden, but another favorite at our house is a lemony version with asparagus or snap peas. Or snow peas, if you like. Here&rsquos the simple recipe, and it comes with only one warning: it can be addictive. You can use any rice, but Arborio rice is creamier because it&rsquos starchier. Stirring is important. I always have a magazine handy to read while I&rsquom making risotto. You don&rsquot have to stare at the rice, but you do have to keep it slowly moving so that it won&rsquot stick to the bottom of the pan.


  1. This asparagus risotto is so flavorful thanks to being cooked in vegetable broth. The arborio rice takes on the flavors from the broth and then when mixed with fresh dill and parmesan at the end, each bite is packed with flavor.
  2. It pairs perfectly with so many things! Your asparagus risotto doesn't have to be a main dish, you can pair it with some sous vide scallops to keep things light and fresh!
  3. It's surprisingly easy and from prepping, cooking, and cleaning, you'll be done in less than an hour.

The full list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Arborio rice &mdash Arborio is a key ingredients when making a traditional risotto. You cannot substitute arborio rice for any regular rice like jasmine or basmati, it does not yield the same type of creamy texture at the end.

Asparagus &mdash When picking asparagus, you want to avoid any that seem limp. You want them to be firm, able to stand straight, and the spears at the top be tightly closed.

Vegetable broth &mdash I suggest using low sodium vegetable broth or no salt added so you can adjust the saltiness of the risotto to your liking by adding salt yourself.

Fresh dill &mdash Fresh dill has a nice subtle citrus-y fresh flavor that lends well to risotto without being over powering.

Parmesan &mdash The parmesan helps make our asparagus risotto extra creamy and flavorful.

Pine nuts &mdash A handful of toasted pine nuts on top of our creamy rich risotto adds an extra layer to texture to it. I love how it adds a nice bite to the risotto.


Summer risotto recipes

Stir up a comforting yet light risotto full of seasonal flavours. Our summery rice dishes make the most of courgettes, broad beans, peas, tomatoes, crab, prawns and plenty more.

Courgette & broad bean risotto with basil pesto

Make this vibrant risotto with courgettes and broad beans to make the most of summer veg. Swirl through homemade pesto for a fabulous starter or main

Creamy tomato risotto

A budget rice dish flavoured with rosemary, basil and sweet cherry tomatoes. An ideal midweek supper

Courgette & lemon risotto

An easy vegetarian one-pot risotto - simply stir in your seasonal veg, simmer and enjoy

Summer risotto

A deliciously creamy summer risotto packed full of veg and seasonal flavours. Not too rich, this is the ideal summer main course

Barley & broad bean risotto

Swap rice for pearl barley to make this broad bean risotto with ricotta and herbs. It's easy to prepare and makes an easy midweek meal that's full of flavour

Baked tomato, mozzarella & basil risotto

Imagine all the best bits of arancini – a golden, crunchy exterior cheesy, oozing rice – in risotto form and you have this moreish baked tomato, mozzarella and basil risotto. It's deliciously&hellip


Summer risotto

Simmer the stock for 10 minutes with the asparagus trimmings and pea pods these will intensify the flavour. Strain into a jug.

While the stock is simmering, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wide, shallow pan. Tip in the onion and fry gently for 5-6 minutes, stirring, until it is soft but not coloured. Add the rice and continue to stir and cook for 1-2 minutes until the grains become see-through at the edges and begin to make ‘clicking’ noises.

Add the wine (it should bubble and evaporate), then 50ml/2fl oz of the stock. Stir well and simmer gently until all the liquid has been absorbed. Now pour in another 50ml/2fl oz stock and stir again. Continue adding the stock and stirring. After about 7 minutes, when half the stock has been added, swirl in the asparagus and peas. Carry on adding stock in small amounts until it has been absorbed this will take about 10 more minutes. Now the risotto should be a little wet and sloppy and the rice tender with a nutty bite.

Turn off the heat, then gently stir in the grated Parmesan, taste and season. You may need only a little black pepper as the Parmesan and stock are both salty. Spoon the risotto on to a plate, top with the rocket, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and scatter with Parmesan shavings. Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy your meal.


Lemon Risotto with Asparagus & Peas

A healthy weekend meal that's spring on a plate: tender, yet crunchy, green vegetables over bright, creamy lemon rice. Gluten-free. Vegan option.

This dish to me is spring on a plate: tender yet crunchy green vegetables with bright, creamy lemon rice. The part you don’t see in this tidy photo is the arguing and bickering that went on behind the scenes.

Jack isn’t (yet) the biggest fan of asparagus or peas, and he threw a mini tantrum when I quickly tossed in handfuls of both of these vegetables near the end of his risotto-stirring duty. I can’t recall exactly how it went because it was a fight about nothing (the good ones always are) but some of the remarks that flew around were “come on you just think you won’t like it!” and “now you’re just cooking for the blog!”, and “really you’re going to walk out that door over peas!

It really was a pointless argument because in the end he loved this meal (I win), but I’m not one to gloat…

This really is one of the most delicious risottos we’ve made. There’s a technique in this recipe that is absolute genius. I can’t take credit for it, but I’m excited to share it nonetheless. When your stirring is all done… the part where you would normally add more butter or handfuls of cheese to create your final creamy risotto texture, stir in a whisked egg yolk instead. It creates the most luscious texture and rich flavor without all the extra butter and cheese. It’s so delicious you’ll even be able to sneak in a few extra green vegetables.


Notes about this recipe

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Reviews

Dragoon from Goldsboro, the recipe author is not responsible for knowing how many people are in your household. Either figure out how to triple the recipe or don’t make it, and don’t review it unless you have made it. When you give a recipe 1 out of 4 forks you lower the average and others may be discouraged from trying it. I have made it, and while I don’t consider it company fare, it was a good family meal. I added thyme, as suggested by another reviewer.

If this was a recipe for more than 2 people, WE HAVE 6 AT THE HOUSE, it could work for us. Since it's for 2 people, it can't be done

Made it tonight. Very good and easy. Not as creamy as stove top but very delicious.

My whole family loves this recipe. It’s a regular for us, and makes a great meatless entree.

This is such an easy risotto recipe!! I enjoyed it immensely and loved the variety of veggies I could put on it (I think I will always use mushrooms in risotto, but it was good to try squash and others, too!) I think I would have taken mine out before the 25 minute mark. it was a bit too soft, but besides that, it was lovely. I would add more salt/pepper next time and maybe use the recommendation below to add thyme. It's a great recipe to keep playing with, I definitely recommend!

I'll give it a try, but am I the only one you actually likes the process of making Risotto the 'old fashioned' way?? I guess it's because when I was a little girl my Italian grandmother and aunts put me on a stool and let me stir to my hearts content.

Fantastic recipe! Used parsnips, carrots, rutaubaga, and butternut squash. Added fresh thyme to risotto. Such a simple gorgeous dish.

This is a great recipe! It gets regular rotation in the fall. Full of flavor if you follow the recipe however, I always add extra wine to the risotto.

This was gorgeous and quick. The risotto isn't quite as creamy as it would be if you were stirring it, but it was delicious nonetheless. To the person below complaining about using water in risotto: the recipe says use water OR stock. So use stock if you have it. Much tastier. I used beets, cauliflower, shallots, and half a red onion (using up veggies in the fridge).

So good, so easy--a great way to use up extra veggies!

Used up a bunch of veggies that I had in the frig and truly loved this recipe. The chicken broth added flavor and would recommend over water.

I am intersted in trying this recipe, but the fact that they are using water instead of chicken stock/broth to cook the risotto doesn't make sense to me. The stock adds so much flavor!

I will never, never make this dish again, most disappointing, tasteless. Time in preparing veggies is a total waste, if you must want to prepare this meal, use frozen veggies

The whole family (including the meat loving husband) loved this. I was pleasantly shocked at how well the risotto turned out---just as if Iɽ made it on the stove top. (That's gonna come in handy for years to come!) I nervously doubled the risotto ingredients and it still came out perfect. Timing was also perfect. I used all chicken broth except for the water at the end (with the butter). We added our parmesan on top vs in the rice. Great recipe---so glad to have found an easy way to make risotto! I will definitely play around with different flavors in this. Thank you!

This was a great dish! I used vegetable broth in making the risotto and a bit of shallots, roasted veg was butternut squash, parsnips and onion. Even my meat monger husband loved it!

This is a great vegetarian comfort food recipe! I love the way it made the house smell. Baking was an easy way to do risotto and it came out well. I put a bit of balsamic vinegar on the veggies for the last few minutes in the oven. Very nice!

I was really pleased with how this recipe turned out the only change I made was adding a bit more cheese than it suggested. The vegetables were delicious and the risotto was great, especially since it was so little work. Maybe starting the risotto immediately after putting the veggies into the oven, and letting it sit with the lid on for 20 minutes before I popped it into the oven helped with making it almost as creamy as "real" risotto? This might be my new winter comfort food go-to.

This was certainly easy to make, but it lacked any flavor. Even after I grated lots more cheese than the recipe called for I couldn't taste anything more than creamy rice. The vegetables definitely add something, but if you're going to make risotto I think it's best to stick to the real thing.

This is a quite tasty recipe! It doesn't compare to traditional risotto, but I wasn't expecting it to. It doesn't cook long enough to really break down the arborio like a risotto should. It comes out pretty creamy, but I made a mistake in not covering it when putting it in the oven, so I added another cup of water and cooked it covered another 15 minutes, so I can't testify as to how it turns out when following the recipe! I served this with some roasted eggplant, zucchini, onion and garlic I got from the farmer's market and it was very satisfying.