Spring Pea and Asparagus Risotto
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 65 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Italian
Simple springtime risotto featuring English peas, asparagus, lemon and parsley! This risotto is baked in the oven and requires minimal stirring. The recipe is designed for brown arborio/short grain brown rice so any grain substitutions will affect baking time. (White arborio rice will only need to be baked for 40 to 45 minutes.) Look for brown arborio/short-grain brown rice at well-stocked grocery stores or health food stores. Skip the wine if you don’t drink, but it adds a lovely depth of flavor. Recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 small yellow onion, chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 5 cups (40 ounces) vegetable broth, divided (if your broth comes in 32-ounce containers, feel free to avoid opening another container by substituting 1 cup water for 1 cup broth in step 3)
- 1 1/2 cups brown arborio/short-grain brown rice
- 1 big bunch of fresh asparagus spears (about 1 pound)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh English peas (about 8 ounces)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, optional
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Pinch red pepper flakes, to taste
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, preferably organic (about 1/4 teaspoon zest and 1 tablespoon juice)
- Handful chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Make sure your oven rack is in the middle position and place another rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add 4 cups broth (or 3 cups broth and 1 cup water), cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and stir in the rice. Cover the pot and bake for 55 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus by snapping off the tough ends and discarding them, then slicing the spears diagonally into 1 1/2-inch long pieces. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Set aside for now.
- Once the risotto has been in the oven for 55 minutes, transfer the asparagus to the lower rack of the oven. Carefully remove the pot from the oven and take off the lid. Quickly dump the peas inside, cover the pot again and return it to the oven for another 10 minutes. (This will give the peas time to steam.)
- Remove the pot from the oven, but leave the asparagus in for another 5 to 10 minutes, until tender and roasted to your liking. Remove the lid and pour in the remaining cup of broth, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, a generous amount of pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes and the zest and juice of half your lemon.
- Using a big spoon, stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Stir in the roasted asparagus. Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide into bowls and top with a generous sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley.
Recipe adapted from my mushroom risotto and cauliflower risotto.
MAKE IT VEGAN: The starch in the short-grain rice is responsible for most of the risotto’s creaminess, so you can skip the Parmesan and add a vegan butter substitute or some extra olive oil, to taste, in place of the butter. You might want to add nutritional yeast, to taste, for some cheesy flavor.
STORAGE SUGGESTIONS: This risotto keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for a few days.
CHANGE IT UP: Feel free to skip either the peas or the asparagus for a more simple (but still plenty green) risotto.
IF YOU MUST USE WHITE ARBORIO RICE: Bake it for 40 to 45 minutes, until tender to the bite, and proceed as directed.