Lemony Spring Risotto with Peas and Asparagus will transition your tastebuds to spring with just one bite. The farm fresh asparagus, peas, and lemon zest will brighten your palette and have you craving warmer weather and more risotto in no time. While risotto is often somewhat heavy and filling, this risotto is a perfect blend of cheesy, creamy, and zesty thanks to the fresh lemon juice.
After what felt like the longest winter ever, I am so happy for spring is just around the corner. While I definitely didn't have as harsh of a winter compared to my friends on the east coast, December through February were the coldest months this Californian has felt in a while. That being said, the farmers markets are open for business, which means lots of fresh produce and new recipes to try. One recipe I've made a few times in the last couple weeks is Lemony Spring Risotto with Peas and Asparagus.
How to Make Risotto Creamy
This asparagus risotto achieves its creamy consistency thanks to the arborio rice's natural starch and the addition of softened mascarpone. To make creamy risotto, you will need to add the broth to the risotto while stirring consistently. This allows the rice to fully absorb the broth and release its starch. The addition of the mascarpone gives the risotto movement and a cheesy flavor. The cheesiness is balanced with earthy saffron and bright spring vegetables.
Risotto is Easier to Make than You Think
Making risotto can often be intimidating since it requires quite a bit of stirring, but it really isn't something to be scared of. Aside from stirring the rice so it absorbs the stock, the second most difficult part is having to be patient and not burning your tongue when you want to taste-test while cooking.
This Spring Risotto is a perfect addition to your weeknight dinner rotation or as a salmon dinner side and is elevated enough for a spring lunch or Easter.
- Butter - A rich fat for cooking the ingredients.
- Olive oil - The natural oil and healthy fat that helps saute the shallot and rice.
- Shallot - Adds a sweet and mild flavor to the dish.
- Arborio rice - A wide and long grain rice that makes a soft and thick risotto.
- Dry white wine - Adds a light flavor and acidity that balances out the other rich flavors.
- Saffron - Adds the sweet and quintessential floral taste to the risotto.
- Chicken or vegetable stock - Provides the yummy and hearty base flavor in the risotto.
- Asparagus - Roasted asparagus adds a distinct and earthy flavor. Asparagus is a delicious green vegetable that is high in vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and fiber. Wash and chop the asparagus before seasoning and cooking.
- Peas - Both sweet and savory, they combine perfectly with the risotto and pancetta for a perfect bite.
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano - Contributes to the creaminess of the risotto as well as adding delicious cheesiness.
- Mascarpone, softened - Adds richness and creaminess.
- Lemon zest and juice - Adds a brightness to the risotto.
- Chives - Adds a mild oniony accent to the risotto.
- Freshly ground black Pepper - Black pepper gives the dish a spicy kick.
- Heat butter and olive oil - Heat the butter and olive oil in a 5 qt dutch oven, braiser, or large sauce pan over medium heat.
- Cook shallot - Add shallot and stir until translucent and softened, but not caramelized, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add rice - Add arborio rice and stir until completely coated in butter and olive oil. Cook for one minute without browning the rice.
- Add wine and chicken or vegetable stock - Add wine and stir until fully absorbed. Once absorbed, add saffron and stock and stir until absorbed. Continue this process one ladle at a time until all the stock is added, after about 20-30 minutes. Once the stock is added, the rice will be tender, but al dente.
- Blanch asparagus - Immediately after adding broth, blanch asparagus in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Mix in cheese and lemon zest - Reduce heat to low and fold in mascarpone, cheese, and lemon zest in the rice until well mixed. Add the lemon juice, asparagus, peas, and salt and pepper to taste, and fold in the ingredients until homogeneous.
- Garnish and serve - Remove from heat, garnish with chives & cheese, and serve immediately.
- Vegetable Risotto - a completely different risotto recipe from an excellent cook.
- Onion - Use an onion instead of shallot if you prefer the stronger taste.
- Gluten Free - If you want to make this lemon risotto recipe gluten free, use a gluten free chicken or vegetable broth.
- Vegetarian - To make this recipe vegetarian, just use vegetable broth.
- Spicy - Add extra ground black pepper or red chili pepper flakes to imbue heat into the dish
- Mushrooms - Add crimini or shiitake mushrooms for extra yummy veggies.
- Garlic - Add minced garlic for the classic aroma
- Kid friendly - Add extra parmesan or Parmiggiano-Reggiano to make it extra cheesy.
- Parsley - Add parsley for earthy spiciness.
This easy asparagus risotto recipe requires kitchen essentials. You need a dutch oven, knife, cutting board, and a wooden spoon. To explore more kitchen items to make your kitchen complete, head to our Kitchen Essentials Shop.
Store leftover lemon risotto in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat leftover rice by steaming it instant pot or in a pan on the stove or microwave it in a microwave safe container until hot.
Don't overcook the lemon risotto, you want it to be al dente, not mushy.
If you love risotto, check out these other recipes:
- Instant Pot Risotto with pancetta and peas
- Roasted Tomato Burrata Spaghetti
- Uni Pasta
- Cacio e Pepe with Burrata
- What to Serve With Risotto: 20 Tasty Sides
Lemony Spring Risotto with Peas and Asparagus
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoon European butter
- 1 Shallot, chopped
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup Dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon Saffron
- 5 cups Chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 Bunch asparagus (about 1 ½ cups), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 ½ Peas
- ⅔ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
- ½ cup Mascarpone, softened
- 1 tablespoon Lemon zest
- 1 Lemon juice
- 3 tablespoon Chives, chopped
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a 5 qt dutch oven or braiser on medium heat.
- Add shallot and stir until translucent and softened, but not caramelized, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add arborio rice and stir until completely coated in butter and olive oil. Cook for one minute without browning the rice.
- Add wine and stir until fully absorbed. Once absorbed, add saffron and stock and stir until absorbed. Continue this process one ladle at a time until all the stock is added, after about 20-30 minutes. Once the stock is added, the rice will be tender, but al dente.
- Immediately after adding the final ladle of stock, blanch asparagus in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Turn the heat to low and fold in mascarpone, cheese, and lemon zest in the rice until well mixed. Add the lemon juice, asparagus, peas, and salt and pepper to taste, and fold in the ingredients until homogeneous.
- Remove from heat, garnish with chives & cheese, and serve immediately.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove