Creamy Asparagus Risotto with Lemon and Peas Questa ricetta è disponibile anche in italiano.
Spring is here, the equinox on the 19th March signalled a change in the seasons and a time of new harvest. It is a wonderful time of the year, a time where you witness the changing colours as once dormant plants now come back to life with a blossom of bountiful flowers, shoots, blossom and what we are interested in, food.
Although food is not what many people grow in their gardens, instead choosing plants that give a beautiful flower, I think it is fair to say many fruits and vegetables also look beautiful when in full growth.
Spring is a time when seasonal food like asparagus is at its very best.
From late February to June asparagus is in season and ready for use to its full potential, with April being the peak time for this vegetable. April is also the peak time for its little green friend: the pea. Peas have always been a favourite of mine, a vegetable that my parents grow in their modest garden back in Italy and something I am hoping to accomplish here in the UK in my new vegetable garden, that I am starting to get ready now.
Creating new beds, sowing new seeds and trying to decide which of all the beautiful vegetables I like, that I will dedicate to grow. It is an exciting time of new learning but I know though that peas will be something I would love to bring to life.
Well with all this in mind what better way is there to celebrate the vibrant goodness of these two springtime vegetables than a risotto? A hearty meal with a few ingredients originally from northern Italy that now has unique regional variations on what is a simple idea, slow cooking rice in a tasty broth.
What you do with it though is up to you, a strong vegetable broth base will allow you to do anything you please just make sure you follow the very important rule of using rice suitable for risotto.
I have just realized this is the first risotto recipe that I share on my blog… I was in shock! I love risottos and making them!
What’s the key for a spot on risotto
Making risotto is a real art.
A basic risotto consists of only a few ingredients:
– olive oil – the main, irreplaceable, ingredient of Italian cooking. Some may use it with butter or margarine. Feel free to cut the amount of olive oil and add a knob of vegan butter.
– onions that need to sweat in the fat until translucent.
– risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli, that’s it!) It is very important to use the right type of rice, otherwise I’m sorry, you are not making a risotto! The rice must be toasted well before adding the following key ingredient on the list. This is probably the most important step to make a risotto that really stands out. Toasting the rice, in fact will prevent the grain to go mushy and get that boiled-like consistency; this step allows the grain maintaining its texture and firmness.
– alcohol (typically wine) that must be cold and follow the toasting step. The alcohol will balance the flavor of the risotto with its acidity and it will also dissolve any fats, that will help in creating a risotto that is super creamy and comforting.
– broth Important for both cooking and flavoring the risotto, a good broth has to be poured into the saucepan gradually, making sure that it is always boiling. You also want to make sure to “whip” the rice and the broth while stirring, this is why it is advised to use a whisk or a spatula (please do not use a wooden spoon!) to work the released starch in order to achieve the best creamy texture ever!
– “mantecatura” the final step that will make your risotto creamy and dreamy. It simply consists on “whipping in” some fats. Let’s see how. As soon as the rice is cooked, we have to turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Add some fat (butter or extra oil, better if cold) and/or vegan cheese, and whisk it all for the last time. It is always advised to keep some broth to add at this stage, in case the rice dries out too much, for creaminess.
Now, theory aside, I’m pretty sure you are absolutely going to love the flavours of this one!
Perfect for (but not only) spring time, this super creamy risotto with asparagus, peas and a hint of lemon is so simple to make yet filling and full of goodness.
I’ve also made a video so you can replicate it easily at home and impress your loved ones, that you can check right now!
Hope you enjoyed this recipe. Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to my mail list and to follow @avegtastefromatoz on Instagram or Facebook!
Do not miss other Italian main dished available on this blog, like this Vegan “Seafood” Pasta, this Green Bean Pasta Bake, this Rice, Potato and Nori Bake or this Vegan Aubergine Parmigiana.
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Creamy Asparagus, Peas and Lemon Risotto
200 g Rice (Arborio)
150 g Asparagus
100 g Peas
120 ml Beer
1/2 Lemon (juice and peel)
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
200 ml Plant based Milk (soy)
1/2 tbsp Vegetable Bouillon Powder
2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1. Wash and chop the asparagus.
2. In a pan heat up a splash of oil and sauté the asparagus tips with a pinch of salt and pepper until crunchy (3-5 minutes). Set aside to use later on as a topping.
3. Repeat with half the amount of the peas and set them aside as well.
4. Sauté finely chopped onions in some olive oil until cooked. Add asparagus stems and the remaining peas. Sauté for a couple of minutes then add the bouillon powder and 1/3 cup of hot water. Cook for a few minutes, until the asparagus are soft, then transfer into a blender bowl and blend until smooth and creamy.
5. Pour the blended veggies back in the pan, add the arborio rice, mix well and toast for a minute or so on high heat.
6. Add the beer, stir well and allow it to evaporate completely (1-2 minutes).
7. Add the plant based milk, lower the heat and allow the rice to absorb it all, stirring all the time.
8. In the meantime boil some water in a kettle. Pour a bit of hot water at a time in the risotto pan until the rice becomes tender.
9. Once the rice is cooked add the juice of 1/2 a lemon, the peas that we previously cooked, the nutritional yeast and the zest of half a lemon.
10. Stir well and cook out the remaining liquid. Serve immediately with freshly grated lemon zest and pepper, and top with the sautéed asparagus tips.