Meatless Monday: Asparagus and Cheese Risotto

How excited are you that asparagus is in season again? I know I am! It’s one of my favourite ingredients.


How excited are you that asparagus is in season again? I know I am! It’s one of my favourite ingredients. I love the flavour and the way it adds a bright punch to any plate.

I think this recipe is perfect because it blends the tasty, bright green vegetable with warm, delicious risotto’and of course, a little chese.

Yes, it’s a little decadent, but it’s Monday and we deserve it!

Here’s what you’ll need:
3 tbsp butter or margarine
2 shallots or 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1-1/4 cups arborio or short-grain rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
350 g (12 oz) asparagus, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 tsp dried marjoram, crumbled
3 1/4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
Pinch saffron threads, crumbled
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp black pepper

And here’s what to do:
1) In a medium-size heavy saucepan over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 7 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring until well coated, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring until evaporated, about 4 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, in a large skillet over moderate heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter. Add asparagus, sprinkle with marjoram, and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Set aside.

3) In a medium-size saucepan over low heat, bring stock and saffron to a simmer. Add 1/2 cup of the stock to rice mixture and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until almost all stock is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue adding the remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until stock is absorbed.

4) In about 40 minutes, the rice will be soft and creamy. Stir in reserved asparagus. Remove from the heat and mix in Parmesan, pepper, and the final tablespoon of butter.


-Jessica Harding, associate web editor


Recipe: Readers Digest; Photo: Thinkstock