Asparagus and herb risotto

Asparagus and herb risotto

Under the Walnut Tree
Fanny Bergenström

Risotto is such a fabulous invention. The rice should be creamy while the grains should remain slightly springy. To get that perfect consistency, use Italian risotto rice such as carnaroli or arborio.

The secret to a great risotto is to only add small amounts of (warm) liquid at a time. Once the risotto is ready, stir in a few knobs of butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy straight away.


Quantity Ingredient
400g tender green asparagus
1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter, plus 2 tablespoons at the end
2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
325g carnaroli rice or other risotto rice
200ml dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
75g parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest, finely grated


  1. Rinse the asparagus. Cut or break off the lower end of each spear, then cut the asparagus into 4-5 cm pieces. Set aside.
  2. Bring the stock to the boil, remove from the heat and set aside. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-based pot and sweat the onion over low heat until slightly translucent.
  3. Increase the heat, then add the rice and sauté quickly while stirring. Pour in the white wine and let the rice absorb the wine as you stir.
  4. Gradually add about 200 ml of the warm stock and bring the rice to the boil, stirring well. When the stock has absorbed, add another 200 ml. Slowly simmer the rice for a total of 18-20 minutes, adding the stock a little at a time. Taste the rice towards the end of the cooking time: it should be cooked but still have a firm core (al dente).
  5. When the risotto is nearly done, cook the asparagus in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until just tender, and then quickly rinse in cold water.
  6. Season the risotto with sea salt, a few knobs of butter and the freshly grated parmesan cheese. Gently fold in the chopped herbs and the lemon zest. Give the risotto a good stir, and then gently fold in the asparagus. Cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Bring the risotto to the table with some extra parmesan and black pepper on the side.


  • Mushroom risotto is another appetising option, particularly with dried porcini mushrooms (ceps). You need 15 g dried mushrooms for the risotto recipe above, leaving out the asparagus and using only half the quantity of herbs. To make the risotto, first soak the mushrooms in 200 ml tepid water for at least 1 hour. Remove the mushrooms but reserve the liquid. Finely chop the mushrooms. In a heavy-based pot or saucepan, start by slowly sautéing the mushrooms in butter and oil. After a few minutes, add the onions and continue to sauté. Then proceed with the rice, stock and wine as in the previous recipe. Serve the risotto with grated parmesan.
Under the Walnut Tree
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