Asparagus Risotto

The first time I had this dish was in Venice as winter was morphing into a rainy Spring.  I had sent the bread back for being stale insulting the waiter Of Course!  But somehow I gained his respect and he trumped me by serving us this wonderful risotto which he also shared with another table . The asparagus were so fresh. The stock was amazing and the texture and creaminess of the risotto was amazing. This is my version of what I recall — I have no idea if this is a classic recipe and really don’e care because I love it.


  • The now infamous saute pan with a cover.
  • A wooden spoon.
  • A  2 qt pot.


1 lb aborio rice.  You cannot use regular Carolina or any other state rice!

1 lb of asparagus cut into bite size pieces – reserving the tips and a bit of stem

1 lemon zested (see equipment for a zester)–

1 cup of white wine.

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1  32 oz box or can of chicken broth/stock

2 tbs butter

1 tbs olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste.

1/2 cup of grated pecorino or parmesean cheese.


  • In a sauce pan bring  the both to a simmer.
  • Heat butter and oil in sautee pan with cover. Test with bread to see if oil is hot enough. (see Techniques — Frying if unsure what this means)
  • Add chopped onion and cook till translucent
  • Add all of the asparagus except for the tips
  • Cook the asparagus briefly then add the rice
  • Coat the rice with the oil, onion mixture the turn the heat high for a minute.
  • Pour in the wine let it bubble and reduce as you stir the rice and asparagus.
  • Do not let the wine evaporate completely.
  • Reduce heat to medium
  • Add one ladle of hot chicken broth to the rice and stir.
  • You are now in the labor intensive part of risotto. Your job is to keep adding hot stock in batches and stirring the rice.
  • As you stir and add stock you will be amazed how the rice is sucking up flavor.
  • You may add the lemon zest at any point now.
  • Taste the rice. It should be moving from hard as hell to firm to al dente. When the rice reaches this stage, you add the asparagus tips.
  • You may need more stock at this time, but what your goal is now is to get the rice to a creamy not watery state.
  • Great risotto is creamy because the starches in the rice have bonded with the liquid and created something amazing.
  • When you sense that your risotto is creamy, remove it from the heat, cover it and keep it warm.

Ideally youshould serve the risotto now.  If you can dish it out and sprinkle some grated cheeze on each serving.

If by chance your guests have kept you waiting, you can revive the risotto once!

Put  it back over moderate heat, add some hot stock and stir  just enough to off set dryness. Don’t cook it– refresh it!

Then if your guests are not ready, eat it yourself and never invite the louts again.