This asparagus risotto starts with rich brown butter, tender onions, a heavy pour of fresh white wine, and my absolutely favorite risotto rice: carnaroli rice.
Once the rice is creamy and just cooked, we stir in asparagus (sliced into perfectly tiny coins) and let it cook for just a few minutes until crisp-tender and bright green.
Creme fraiche, butter and parmesan add layers of buttery flavor and lactic tang. It’s a fresh, creamy, flavor-packed spring risotto we just can’t get enough of!
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what makes this the best asparagus risotto:
Risotto rice: Using the right rice is key to the saucy, luscious texture of good risotto. Carnaroli rice has the highest concentration of starch, so it makes a velvety risotto with the perfect bite. You can also use arborio or vialone nano!
Crisp-tender asparagus: We stir the asparagus in with a final half-scoop of hot stock. It only needs about 2 minutes to cook, which is just enough time for the rice to absorb the stock and stay saucy. The residual heat of the risotto will continue to cook the asparagus as you stir in the butter, parmesan and creme fraiche. So easy!
Brown butter: The nutty, toasty flavor of brown butter is delicious with fresh asparagus. The combination screams spring!
Lemon zest: Zesting 1 lemon adds so much lemony flavor to this risotto and it doesn’t turn the asparagus an ugly brown color (like adding lemon juice would).
A lot of wine: I prefer my risotto with a lot of wine in it. Don’t worry (or do?)-- the alcohol cooks off. But it’s the leftover acidity that makes the risotto so bright, fresh and balanced.
asparagus risotto ingredients:
- risotto rice (arborio, carnaroli, vialone nano)
- dry white wine
- chicken stock
- creme fraiche
how to make asparagus risotto:
- Heat chicken stock in a small saucepan
- Brown butter and slowly cook onions and garlic until very soft
- Stir in rice and cook until translucent on the edges
- Add white wine and cook until evaporated
- Add hot stock, little by little, until absorbed/ evaporated and rice is just tender.
- Stir in asparagus with a final half ladleful of stock; cook 2 minutes.
- Stir in butter, lemon zest, parmesan and creme fraiche
- Divide into bowls and serve with extra parmesan.
ways to take this asparagus risotto recipe to the next level!
This is a super delicious vegetarian risotto recipe. But it’s also a perfect canvas for add-ins. Use your favorite meat or seafood to round out the meal or toss in extra veggies.
Here are some additions that go super well with the creamy rice and crisp-tender asparagus:
- fresh peas
- fiddlehead ferns
- sautéed, garlicky spinach
- crispy mushrooms (morels would be amazing!)
- roasted cauliflower florets
- fresh torn mint, basil, or parsley
- chopped grilled chicken
- buttery shrimp or scallops
- poached salmon or halibut
- lump crab meat, tossed with brown butter
- steamed lobster
- crispy pancetta cubes
- sliced filet mignon
best white wine for risotto:
I love to use a crisp, dry white wine for risotto. I prefer varieties that are fairly high in acidity-- it adds balance and freshness to the creamy rice.
The wine also doesn’t need to be delicious. We’re simmering it and cooking down, then mixing it into a super flavorful and creamy dish. Any nuance in flavor or texture that distinguishes a $40 bottle of wine from a $10 bottle is lost.
As long as the wine isn’t oxidized or otherwise flawed, you can go as low as $8/ bottle.
The issue with going cheaper isn’t so much the introduction of off-flavors or flaws: these wines are supremely “clean.” But they almost always sneak in sugar to make them more drinkable. And we really don’t want to add in sweetness.
So $10+ seems to be a safe range of actually getting what you want: a dry sauvignon blanc.
wines to look for:
- sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, albarino, gruner veltliner, vinho verde, chenin blanc (make sure it's dry!)
some final tips for this asparagus risotto recipe:
- Risotto is at its best immediately after making it, when it’s saucy and deliciously creamy. As it cools, it will set and start to thicken and the loose, silky consistency will be gone. The risotto will still be great– but it won’t be the same as right after it’s finished.
- Risotto does not reheat well and it doesn’t freeze well.
- Prep everything else for dinner before you get started. Be prepared to enjoy the meal right after you stir in the butter, parmesan, and creme fraiche!
find more delicious risotto recipes here!Print
Creamy lemon asparagus risotto is made with soft brown butter onions, white wine, a ton of parmesan, and tangy creme fraiche. Asparagus coins are mixed in until just cooked and so flavorful!
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6
- Category: Rice
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 6 tbsp cold butter, divided
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cup risotto rice (arborio, carnaroli, vialone nano)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 small bunch asparagus, ends snapped and discarded, stalks sliced into ¼” thick coins
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 ¼ cup finely grated parmesan, plus more for serving
- ¼ cup creme fraiche
- Heat chicken stock in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; keep it hot but not simmering.
- Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium- low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until butter begins to bubble then brown and smell nutty, about 5 minutes. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft and translucent, 8- 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then add ¼ cup water. Continue to cook until water has evaporated and onion is very soft, about 5 more minutes.
- Add rice and stir to coat in butter. Cook until rice turns slightly translucent but not toasted, 2- 3 minutes. Add wine and stir until liquid is fully absorbed and the rice is mostly dry.
- Add a ladleful of hot stock and a big pinch of salt and black pepper. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and stir every so often to incorporate the liquid and keep the rice from scorching. When the rice looks almost dry, add another cup of hot stock. Repeat the process, stirring often and maintaining a gentle simmer, until rice is tender but al dente and liquid is mostly absorbed (you may not need all of the stock), 15- 20 minutes. When the risotto is just about done, add a half-ladle full of stock and stir in asparagus. Cook until just crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter, lemon zest and parmesan until combined. Adjust seasoning if needed, and stir in creme fraiche.
- Divide risotto into serving bowls and serve immediately, passing more parmesan.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 359
- Sugar: 2.6g
- Sodium: 550mg
- Fat: 22g
- Saturated Fat: 13g
- Unsaturated Fat: 6.6g
- Trans Fat: 0.8g
- Carbohydrates: 23g
- Fiber: 1.7g
- Protein: 13g
- Cholesterol: 61mg
Keywords: asparagus risotto