Asparagus, Mushroom, Pea and Arugula Spring Risotto
There's no doubt that risotto is creamy and comforting, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's unhealthy and indulgent. Risotto's wonderful texture comes from the starch of Arborio rice which when cooked gently reaches a creamy consistency. So as long as you are careful about what other ingredients you include with your Arborio rice, risotto can be a very healthy way to enjoy something that seems indulgent. My risotto with asparagus recipe makes a lovely starter, side dish, or vegetarian main course for spring. Delicious and easy to make with just a few ingredients, this risotto recipe includes lots of nutritious vegetables without unnecessary butter and cheese. The only thing to keep in mind is that it requires frequent stirring, so you need to stay close to the stove while it cooks and commit a little time, about 30 minutes. So queue up a podcast, turn on some music, call or friend, or just zone into the meditative process of stirring and watch the rice absorb the broth.
My spring risotto calls for seasonal vegetables including asparagus, mushrooms, sweet peas, and arugula but there’s lots of room for creativity and improvisation. If you don’t feel like mushrooms, substitute zucchini, or peppers, or just leave them out. If you don’t have any wine on hand or prefer not to use it, use extra broth. If you have spinach in the refrigerator, but no arugula, not a problem. Any dark leafy green adds a nutritious boost and extra color to this beautiful spring dish.
6 to 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-in pieces
10 ounces cremini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup frozen peas
A few handfuls of baby arugula
Juice from half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium pot, bring the broth to a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the asparagus, mushrooms, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the asparagus is tender-crisp, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus. Add the peas and continue cooking until the peas are defrosted (about 1 minute). Transfer the vegetables to a plate and set them aside.
In the same pot over medium-low heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Do not brown. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until glossy and translucent around the edges. Add the wine and cook until completely absorbed. Ladle about 1 cup of the simmering broth into the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until absorbed. Continue adding the broth, 1 ladle at a time, and stirring frequently until it is absorbed and the rice is al dente and creamy.
Stir in the reserved vegetables and arugula into the risotto. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and additional lemon if desired. Spoon the risotto into bowls and serve.
Did you make this recipe?
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