Garden Fresh Asparagus And Broad Bean Risotto Recipe

There's nothing quite like a comforting bowl of risotto; it's like a warm hug on a plate. This northern Italian rice dish is rustic yet timelessly classy and provides a great lesson in patience along with its rich, creamy flavor. This is no quick and easy meal option — to make a great risotto requires your full, undivided attention. It is absolutely worth it though as the attention you lavish on this dish while it is cooking will result in a delicious and dreamy dinner so good you'll be back for seconds. 

This risotto, created by Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye, is a celebration of all things green and seasonal, with asparagus, broad beans, fresh basil, and lemon combined to make a dish that is equal parts fresh and creamy. This dish can easily be served as a main meal; it makes a delicious vegetarian dish that is both hearty and filling, as well as nutritious, or it can be paired alongside a variety of proteins for the meat eaters among us. Serve it with a fresh salad and a glass of crisp white wine to really complete the meal.

Gather the ingredients for this garden fresh asparagus and broad bean risotto recipe

To make this garden fresh asparagus and broad bean risotto, first, you will need to gather the ingredients. The fresh ingredients you will need are asparagus, basil, an onion, broad beans, a lemon, butter, and grated Parmesan. Additionally, you will need olive oil, white wine, salt and pepper, and of course, risotto rice. We recommend using Arborio rice, as it is the best type of rice for making risotto. Due to its high starch content, this rice creates super creamy risotto. It's also widely available and affordable, making it the perfect choice.

Prepare the asparagus

To begin this recipe, you will start by preparing the asparagus. Chop off the woody ends of this green vegetable and add them to your chosen stock. This will sit on the hob staying warm until you're ready to add liquid to your risotto. While this sits the asparagus ends will infuse with the stock, adding additional flavor to the resulting dish.

Chop the remaining asparagus stems in half and blanch them. This process of boiling the asparagus and then cooling it throughly in an ice bath will help the vegetable to retain its crispness, its lovely green color, and its nutrients. At this stage, set the asparagus tops to one side as they will be added to the risotto dish right at the end of the cooking process.

Make the asparagus and basil purée

To add further fresh flavor to this risotto dish, as well as give it a bit of green color, you'll need to make an asparagus and basil purée. While it sounds fussy, it really is as simple as adding the ingredients to a food processor and blending everything together. Add the middle of the asparagus stems along with the basil, and then keep the food processor going until the mixture is smooth and has a lovely vibrant green color. It may be necessary to add a tablespoon or two of water to help create the purée.

Begin the risotto

Every good risotto needs a flavor base, and that is typically onion. Fry the onion in olive oil and some butter for a few minutes until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry everything a little longer. Then, add the risotto rice to the pan and toast it for a minute or two. This step is small but important as it coats the rice with a layer of oil as it starts the cooking process, resulting in rice that doesn't break apart when cooked. It only needs a short while — don't cook the rice like this for too long — then it's time to add the white wine.

Finish cooking the risotto

Once the rice is in the pan it is important to remember to keep it moving. As you ladle the stock into the pan, keep gently stirring the risotto. This movement agitates the rice which helps to release its starch, resulting in the deliciously creamy texture of a well-cooked risotto. The risotto will be ready when it has thickened, and the grains of rice still retain a little bite. Be careful not to overcook the risotto as it will quickly become mush. Add the broad beans to the risotto as it cooks, making sure to add them with enough time left to cook them through while still retaining a little bite. 

Add the final touches

To finish this asparagus and broad bean risotto, take it off the heat before adding the butter. Stir it in quickly to emulsify it, giving the risotto a wonderfully light and fluffy texture. Then mix in the asparagus and basil purée, the grated Parmesan, and the lemon zest. Finish off your dish with salt and pepper to taste, and top with the reserved asparagus tips and more basil leaves. Add additional Parmesan if you like your risotto extra cheesy. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat thoroughly before consuming. This dish can also be frozen.

Garden Fresh Asparagus And Broad Bean Risotto Recipe
5 from 30 ratings
This recipe combines vibrant seasonal veggies with a creamy, comforting risotto base to create a dish that will have you coming back for seconds.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Asparagus and broad bean risotto
Total time: 1 hour
  • ½ pound fresh asparagus
  • 2½ pints vegetable or chicken stock
  • 4 stalks fresh basil, plus extra for serving
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup risotto rice (Arborio rice is recommended)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup broad beans, frozen or fresh
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  1. Chop the woody ends off the asparagus and then cut the remaining stalks in half. Add the woody end sections to the vegetable or chicken stock in a large pan set to low heat.
  2. Heat up a medium sized-pan full of water over a high heat until it begins to boil, then cook the middle and top sections of the asparagus for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus from the water, and place it straight into ice water in a bowl, and let it cool for 4 to 5 minutes. Then, remove them from the water and let the asparagus drain on kitchen towel, drying them gently. Set the asparagus tips to one side.
  3. Add the middle segments of the asparagus to a food processor with 4 stalks of fresh basil and blend to form a smooth green purée. Add a tablespoon or two of water if it needs loosening. Set to one side.
  4. Heat a large, deep pan to a medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and the olive oil, then the chopped onion to the pan. Fry for a few minutes until translucent. Add the garlic to the pan and fry for a minute or two longer.
  5. Add the risotto rice to the pan, thoroughly coat it in the oil and fry for 1–2 minutes before adding the white wine.
  6. Cook the risotto rice in the wine until it is absorbed. Start ladling in the stock (leave the asparagus ends behind in the stock pot), keeping the risotto moving around in the pan all the while.
  7. After 15 minutes the risotto rice will be reaching an al dente state. Add the broad beans to the pan and cook with the risotto for 5 more minutes, until the risotto rice is perfectly al dente.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and then mix in the remaining butter, the asparagus and basil purée, the grated Parmesan, the zest of 1 lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Top with the asparagus tips, more Parmesan (if you like your risotto especially cheesy), and serve.
Calories per Serving 393
Total Fat 16.7 g
Saturated Fat 8.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 37.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 41.3 g
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
Total Sugars 5.4 g
Sodium 398.3 mg
Protein 12.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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