RECIPE: Asparagus risotto

As featured in the Cookery School Handbook

Risotto follows the same principle as other rice recipes in that liquid is used to cook the rice and is absorbed by the end of the cooking time. Where it differs to other recipes is that risotto always cooks in stock and/or wine, not water.

It’s important to stir risotto regularly during cooking, as the starch releasing from the grains results in an incredibly creamy dish. Asparagus is a great option for spring risotto, not only because it tastes wonderful but turns the rice a lovely green colour.

Serves 4-6


  • 12 medium-sized spears of asparagus
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 285g/10 oz risotto rice
  • 1 wine glass of white wine
  • 1.2L / 2 pints hot vegetable or chicken stock (a little more may be required)
  • 85g / 3 oz parmesan cheese, grated (if vegetarian, make sure the parmesan you’re using is free of animal products!)



  1. Cut the asparagus spears into 5cm / 2 inch pieces, place in a small pan and cover with water.
  2. Boil until just tender. Separate the spears from the water, putting the water to the side to be used as part of the stock.
  3. Pour the oil into a saucepan set over a medium high heat. Add the onion and fry until light golden brown.
  4. Stir in the rice and coat with oil, ensuring that each grain glistens.
  5. Pour in the white wine and cook quickly until evaporated.
  6. Keeping the stock over a medium-high heat, add a ladleful at a time to the rice mixture, stirring continuously. Continue to add stock until it has all been absorbed. This should take about 25 minutes.
  7. Halfway through the cooking, add about half of the asparagus, which will break down and give the risotto a green colour.
  8. Once the rice is cooked, but has a little ‘bite’ to it, add the remaining asparagus pieces.
  9. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan (if using)


Risotto should be eaten immediately before it congeals and becomes sticky. If you need to ‘hold’ it before serving, cook for about 15 minutes and then finish off by adding the final amount of stock  just before serving.

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