Spring is in full swing here in Toronto and farmer's markets are overflowing with fresh produce - finally! Asparagus is honestly a vegetable I get excited the most about, and yes I do get excited about vegetables coming into season. I love pairing it with peas, lemon juice, fresh greens, or in this case, rice. This arborio risotto is sooo good, you just have to try it!
The reason I call this 'Arborio Risotto' is because it's made with Arborio rice. It's Italian short-grain rice with higher starch content. It originates in Arborio, a town in Italy and is traditionally used for risotto. When cooked it has a chewy creamy texture, and is different from regular white rice, which won't be as creamy and starchy.
How to cook Arborio rice?
Arborio rice is meant to be cooked a bit differently than regular white rice. You're adding liquid in parts throughout the cooking process as opposed to all at once in the beginning. It sounds daunting but I promise you it's really easy!
I recommend making any vegetables you serve the risotto with before you make the risotto and then heating them back up if possible. The rice gets thicker the longer it sits after it's been cooked so you want to serve it right away.
First, start with butter or oil and finely chopped onion in a saucepan, sautee that for a few minutes, then add the rice and toast it for a couple of minutes.
In this recipe, I'm adding white wine first, and when it evaporates, add about ½ cup of vegetable broth. The most important thing is to keep stirring the rice so it doesn't burn. Whenever it starts sticking to the bottom a bit and the rice soaks up most of the liquid add more. This process should take about 20 minutes. Towards the end, add the grated goat cheddar or nutritional yeast to keep this vegan.
The rice should be creamy but still al-dente. If you need to, add more broth or water.
Asparagus is a great and versatile vegetable to cook with! Sautee it with herbs and add to anything from pasta to risottos (hello creamy dreamy arborio risotto with asparagus), or use it raw chopped up or shaved into strips and add it into salads. It's also great roasted served with eggs in the morning or in frittatas. I made a vegan frittata with leeks and asparagus a while back from the Chickpea Flour Does It All cookbook and it was to die for! Highly recommended.
More recipes featuring asparagus:Print
Light but creamy risotto made with Arborio rice cooked in white wine. Served with sauteed asparagus and green peas. Finished with grated goat cheese or nutritional yeast.
Sauteed asparagus and peas
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon vegan butter or more avocado oil (or regular butter)
- Asparagus, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- Sea salt and pepper
- 1-2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter or more oil
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 1 ½ cup arborio rice
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 cups broth
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (optional*)
- Handful freshly grated goat parmesan (or 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast if vegan) + more for serving
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- 1-2 tablespoon fresh chives (optional)
Sautéed Asparagus and Peas
- Heat up the butter and oil in a pan over high heat, add the asparagus, parsley, and oregano and toss. Lower the heat to medium and sauté for a few minutes until the asparagus turns dark green. You want it to remain crunchy.
- Add the peas and allow them to thaw and heat up if they're frozen. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside while you cook the risotto.
- Heat up the oil and butter in a pan, add the shallots, a small pinch of sea salt, and sauté stirring frequently for a few minutes until the shallots turn translucent.
- Add the rice and toast for a couple of minutes until fragrant and the rice starts to look translucent around the edges, but make sure it doesn’t start turning brown.
- Carefully pour in the wine and wait till it’s almost soaked up before adding the broth.
- Start adding the broth, a little at a time, while constantly stirring. Always wait till the liquid is almost absorbed before adding more. Make sure to keep stirring and adding more broth as necessary to avoid scorching. This process will take 20 mins.
- Taste the risotto to make sure it’s cooked but still al dente (not crunchy but not mushy). If needed, add more broth. Take the pan off the heat to prevent burning.
- Stir in the balsamic vinegar, goat cheese, sea salt, and fresh chives.
- Serve immediately with the asparagus, peas, and sprinkled with more goat cheese or nutritional yeast.
*The balsamic adds extra flavor here but it's optional, it's just the little something that completes the dish.
Keywords: arborio, risotto, asparagus, peas