Asparagus risotto

This simple dish tastes intensely of asparagus and is a good way to extend asparagus. It comes from my last book  Simply Veg: A Modern Guide to Everyday Eating (see Books). Dont be put off by the length of the method its very easy to make and well worth the effort. Serve the risotto with a pretty salad of mixed leaves

Serves 4

450g/1lb bunch asparagus, washed

30g/1oz unsalted butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 litre/1 pints good chicken or vegetable stock

310g/11oz Arborio or Carnaroli rice

15g/ oz Parmesan, freshly grated + extra
for serving

salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 Wash the asparagus. Cut off and discard the tough end of the stalks. Cut off the tips and set aside. Working from the tender tip end of each asparagus stalk, cut a 2.5cm/1in length of the stalk into pea-sized slices. Add these to the tips. Then roughly slice the remaining (slightly tougher) length of each stem and set aside in another bowl.

2 Set a wide heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the butter, and, once melted, mix in the onion. Fry gently for 10 minutes, or until soft and golden.

3 While the onion is cooking, divide the stock between 2 small saucepans. Bring both to the boil. Add the second batch of roughly sliced asparagus stems to one of the pans. Cover and once it has returned to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes, or until the asparagus is very soft. Liquidise and, if fibrous, strain through a fine sieve and return the asparagus stock to the pan. 

4 Stir the asparagus tips and pea-sized sliced stems into the softened onion. Fry for 2 minutes, then stir in the rice. Fry for a further minute, then mix in 23 ladles of plain hot stock. Stir regularly, gradually adding more stock as the simmering stock is absorbed. Gradually add both the plain stock and the green asparagus stock until all the stock is used up.

5 After 2530 minutes, the rice should have cooked into a fluffy, slightly sloppy al dente risotto. Stir in the Parmesan and season to taste. Serve immediately.




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