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Asparagus + Spring Onion Risotto

Asparagus + Spring Onion Risotto

The time feels a little wonky today, owing to that hour leap forward. I marvel at the difference an hour makes every year, throwing one day out of whack as we adjust to the disconnect between the light in the sky and the time on the clock.

I listened to the latest episode of Radiolab while making this risotto. It’s about how we get in the way of ourselves, how short term goals sometimes stand as obstacles to long term aspirations. And how people navigate that and overcome it – our small and large triumphs. Which reminded me of Nicholas Kristof’s thoughtful, inspired editorial that talked about the resilience of the Japanese, how stoic and resolved they are in the face of this rather incomprehensible tragedy. And let’s not forget the man who survived on the roof of his house, nine miles out to sea, amidst all the turbulence of the tsunami. That made me weepy. His story was, I think, a small triumph in the midst so many great tragedies. We all need a little bit of that.

Between the weather, the time change and the surreality of what’s unfolding in Japan, there is something especially sweet and comforting in the act of being read to. So let me direct you to that stellar hour of Radiolab. Let them be your narrators today, whether you’re making a rainy day risotto, cleaning the house, or burrowing under the covers.

This Asparagus + Spring Onion Risotto Recipe is part of the March Seasonal Food Guide.

Yield: about 6 servings

2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup dry white wine
8 ounces asparagus, ends trimmed, sliced one inch thick at an angle
3 medium spring onions, cleaned and sliced, green stalks discarded
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of one lemon
salt + black pepper to taste

In a small pot on the back burner, warm the vegetable or chicken broth.

On the front burner in a large pot, melt half the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about three minutes, stirring ocassionally.

Add the rice and cook for another two minutes, stirring.

Add the wine, continue to stir.

Once the wine has been mostly absorbed, about 5 minutes, begin adding the warm stock in 1/2-1 cup increments. People often tell you to stir constantly, but in the beginning it’s alright to let it be for a bit.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add the remaining half tablespoon of butter. Saute the asparagus until just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, continue to monitor the risotto, adding stock as needed, and stirring regularly.

Towards the end, as the risotto plumps and cooks, you will need to keep a pretty constant eye on it, stirring frequently so that the rice doesn’t burn.

When all of the stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through, remove from heat.

Stir in the cup of parmesan. Add the asparagus, parsley, lemon juice and zest, and stir to combine.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.


  • Kankana - Looks perfect, and this can be a perfect meal for the cloudy days :)ReplyCancel

  • Jun - Looks delicious, but seems comfortingReplyCancel

  • Tine - Hooray to asparagus!ReplyCancel

  • Mika - Mmm, Now I’d really like to have risotto for lunch…But I have a problem…The German region where I live is the asparagus region of Germany but all of those asparagus are white…and I don’t like white asparagus…sigh… ^_^
    I like the idea to use lemon zest…ReplyCancel

  • BiancaSasha - Daylight savings time always hits me really hard- thankfully I had the day to myself. Its always good to reflect on all the things I am blessed with and ow easily it could call change.

    Great recipe and lovely words!


  • kimberley - @Kankana: It’s indeed perfect for cloudy days. (Sunny spring days too.)
    @Jun: It’s a little of both, I think! :)
    @Tine: Hooray indeed!
    @Mika: I don’t like white asparagus either! It kind of baffles me. There’s got to be someone, somewhere in Germany, that lets it see the light of day and turn green. Fingers crossed.
    @BiancaSasha: I totally agree! And thank you. I felt kind of tongue-tied writing this one.ReplyCancel

  • Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls - What a beautiful dish! I love risotto – I must try this!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful BitefulsReplyCancel

  • Mika - Hi Kimberley! I answer here to your question so you don’t have to check my blog again…
    Here in Germany is super easy to find the pomegranate molasses…the city is full of arabic or persian shop at every corner…
    But it was easy too when I lived in Sardinia…the only ethnic shop in the city has it…I think you will find it too…ReplyCancel

  • Joanne - This risotto looks like the perfect comfort food during these times. The fresh flavors of the asparagus and spring onions mixed with the carbalicious arborio rice itself…great dish.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole Franzen ` - yum, me love risotto. too much, must not eat risotto if i plan on being on the beach in 3 weeks hahahReplyCancel

  • Maria @ Scandifoodie - I love the look of this… so fresh and delicious!ReplyCancel

  • kickpleat - This looks so good! I love risotto and I can imagine that one with asparagus and a touch of lemon zest would make an ideal supper. I can’t wait for asparagus to hit the store shelves around here!ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin - I have come back to this post about 6 times since you put it up just to look at the pictures. I wish this grey would go away and my days looked a bit more like that beautiful risotto, peeping with yellow and green. Obviously I want to try this (and all of your recipes) but this one just sends me into a nice spring dream. Ah!ReplyCancel

  • kimberley - @Joanne and @Nicole: Ladies! The carbolicious guilt can be minimized by using brown rice instead. I am a total supporter of this. :)
    @Maria: thanks!
    @kickpleat: Sometimes I feel guilty for showing off beautiful produce that’s not quite in season everywhere. Hope you get to enjoy when asparagus finally rolls around up there!
    @Caitlin: this made my day. Thanks. :)ReplyCancel

  • Tapas, Asparagus Risotto, and Tofu (Eats and Beats, March 19-25) | Eating the Beats - […] Asparagus risotto. Petra’s and my first attempt at risotto; we didn’t get the texture quite right, but it tasted fine. We added peas, used scallions instead of spring onions, and used parm + shredded white cheddar. […]ReplyCancel

  • try pie. try. | When Hungry Met Fatty - […] wasabi. Remind me to tell that story sometime). That left pasta. I happened across this recipe for Asparagus and Spring Onion Risotto and thought – perfect! Pasta, seasonal, and as a bonus my dad actually really likes […]ReplyCancel

  • Megan - This recipe looks great and I’m looking forward to trying it. I have a silly question though: is the rice meant to be cooked ahead of time, or do you add uncooked rice.ReplyCancel

  • Fresh Produce Tuesday- Week #3: Spring Onions | 2 Sisters 2 Cities - […] Asparagus + Spring Onion Risotto from The Year in Food […]ReplyCancel

  • Steamed Asparagus with Red Onions, Almonds, and Raisins Recipe — Andrea Meyers - […] The Year in Food – Asparagus and Spring Onion Risotto […]ReplyCancel

  • Poonam - The recipe looks interesting but one question –what can you use instead of wine?ReplyCancel

  • Courtney Musselman - This recipe looks amazing I am so excited to try it. I love asperagus, I bet this will be a great summer time meal! ReplyCancel

  • Ali - looks yummy…ReplyCancel

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