Spring Asparagus Risotto

Creamy risotto, cooked with Spring asparagus, fresh herbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano and a touch of lemon. Perfect as a meatless main dish if you use vegetable broth, or wonderful as a side with grilled shrimp.

This Italian rice dish is a labor of love, not the kind of dish you turn on and walk away from, but instead slowly cooked with ladlefuls of broth, adding more each time it’s absorbed. Just before the last ladle, I added fresh asparagus to the last five minutes of cooking time and finished it with a touch of lemon juice and lemon zest.

Because risotto is so simple, I like to use the freshest ingredients when I make it such as seasonal vegetables, fresh herbs and good cheese.

Asparagus is perfect addition to risotto, and now in season. This spear-shaped veggie is an awesome weapon for your health. It’s packed with disease-fighting nutrients including fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K and glutathione, a detoxifying compound that may protect against certain types of cancer. And it’s loaded with age-defying antioxidants that work to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals in your body. Look for spears with tight buds and firm stalks without wrinkles.

Spring Asparagus Risotto
Servings: 4 • Size: 1 generous cup as a main • Points +: 7 pts • Smart Points: 8
Calories: 255 • Fat: 4 g • Protein: 9 g • Carb: 43 g • Fiber: 2 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 630 mg


  • 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 oz dry white wine
  • 3/4 lb thin asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed, cut 2-inches long
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest for garnish


In a large saucepan, heat broth over medium-high heat. When it boils, reduce heat to a simmer and maintain over low heat, taste for salt and adjust as needed.

In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and add the shallots; sauté 3-4 minute. Add the rice; mix well so the rice is coated throughout and saute until the rice is slightly translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed. 

Add a ladleful of the simmering stock; stir and wait until it is absorbed before adding another ladleful stirring gently and almost constantly. 

Continue this process until the rice is creamy, tender to the bite, but slightly firm in the center. Add the asparagus along with the last ladle of broth and continue cooking 5 minutes, total time should be about 25-30 minutes from the time you started. When all the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Serve immediately and top with fresh cracked pepper, lemon zest, and extra grated cheese if desired.

Makes over 4 cups.

Nutritional information for asparagus provided by Heather K Jones, RD.