Asparagus Risotto


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Cook's Book of Everything

The Cook's Book of Everything

By Lulu Grimes

Published 2009

  • About

This risotto has an intensity of flavour from cooking and blending the asparagus stems to use as stock. You could try the same method with other vegetables such as broccoli and peas. This recipe is best made when asparagus is in season and has a good flavour.


  • 450 g (1 lb) asparagus
  • 100 g ( oz) butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 220 g ( oz/1 cup) risotto rice
  • 150 ml ( fl oz) dry white vermouth or wine
  • 25 g (1 oz/¼ cup) grated parmesan cheese


  1. To make the asparagus stock, wash the asparagus and snap off the woody ends but don’t throw them away. Cut the delicate tips off the asparagus and set aside. Finely chop the asparagus stems.
  2. Pour 750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) water into a small saucepan, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Cook the woody asparagus ends in the water for about 10 minutes, pressing them with the back of a slotted spoon to release their flavour. Remove the ends with the spoon and throw them away. In the same water, cook the asparagus tips for 2 minutes, then remove, drain and set aside. Finally, cook the chopped asparagus stems for 3 minutes.
  3. Pour the water and asparagus stems into a blender and mix until smooth. Pour into a measuring jug — you should have 750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) of liquid. If you don’t, top up with water. Pour the stock back into the saucepan and maintain at a low simmer.
  4. Heat 75 g ( oz) of the butter in a deep heavy-based frying pan and gently cook the onion until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and thyme and stir briefly. Add the rice and reduce the heat to low. Season and stir to coat the grains of rice in the butter. Add the vermouth to the rice and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Stir in a ladleful of the stock and cook at a fast simmer, stirring constantly. When the stock has been absorbed, stir in another ladleful. Continue like this for about 25 minutes, or until the rice is creamy but still has a little bite in the centre. When you have one ladleful of stock left, add the asparagus tips and the remaining stock and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Adding the delicate asparagus tips at the end of cooking prevents them breaking up and helps them maintain their bright green colour.
  6. Stir in the remaining butter and the parmesan. Leave the risotto in the pan for 1–2 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse before serving.