Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

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It wasn’t until last year that I tried making risotto. Each time I make it, I find myself shaking my head, wondering why I waited so long! Intimidation. That’s the only answer. But folks, please know that you shouldn’t be intimidated! With just a little time and attention, this Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto is well worth trying! Creamy, satiny rice with bits of asparagus and mushrooms. You’ll feel like you’ve attained a great achievement!

Serving Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto in Blue Willow Dishes

The cooking shows on television always talk about how difficult it is to make Risotto. That it’s a grueling task and needs the perfect amount of cooking time and attention to attain the creamy, satiny consistency its known for. Well, yes, it is one of those dishes that you don’t want to walk away from. But it’s surprisingly simple to make, especially after years of thinking it’s too difficult to try.

Plus, it’s one of those recipes that once you’ve accomplished it, you somehow feel like you’ve stepped upward on the ladder of kitchen achievement. As though you’re closer to being a real cook, baker, or dare I say it…even a home chef!

 

What is Risotto?

Recipe for Garlic Bean Risotto with Brisket

Risotto is a creamy Italian dish that often has one or two other vegetables in it, or even meat. See my recipe for Garlic Bean Risotto with Brisket Here.

Unlike other rice dishes that simmer in a pot of water, Risotto cooks in a small amount of water or broth that is ladled over the rice during a 25-30 minute timeframe. It is often finished by adding butter and freshly grated Parmesan, in a final step that is called mantecare. In Italian, and when making Risotto, it simply means to stir in butter and Parmesan.

“Mantecare…is the final and best touch, bestowing on your risotto a creamy consistency of great opulence.” Marcella Hazen from her cookbook Marcella Cucina. I highly recommend reading Marcella’s cookbooks to see what she has to say about cooking risotto. See one of my favorite Cookbooks Here.

One of the key ingredients for making Risotto is the type of rice used, which in my case is Arborio Rice, a short-grain rice that is short, fat, and oval shaped, used primarily for making risotto. Once only grown in Italy, it apparently is now being grown in the U.S. in California and Texas. I had never seen this rice in the grocery stores until just a few years ago, but can now find it in our rural area. Or you may purchase it on Amazon Here.

 

Ingredients for Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

See the full recipe in its entirety at the bottom of this post.

  • chicken bouillon + water, or chicken broth
  • butter, divided
  • olive oil
  • asparagus
  • frozen petite peas (optional)
  • mushrooms
  • sweet onion
  • garlic
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Arborio rice
  • dry white wine
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley, for garnish

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

Ingredients for Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.

 

Prepare the Ingredients

Using a knife and cutting board, trim and cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Slice the mushrooms.

Mince the onion and garlic.

In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil the water and bouillon cubes (or chicken broth), and then reduce to a simmer, stirring to combine.

You will keep the broth on simmer for the entire process of making this dish.

 

Saute the Vegetables

Sauteing the Vegetables

In a large skillet or saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter along with the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the prepared asparagus and frozen peas (if using). Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender, stirring frequently, about 2-4 minutes.

In testing out this dish, I’ve made it with and without peas. It is good either way, but I probably prefer it without. I’ll leave that to your discretion.

Remove the vegetables from the pan and place in a bowl for use later.

 

The Soffritto

Sauteing the Mushrooms, Onion, and Garlic

In the same pan, melt another 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and minced onion and cook until tender, about 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Add to this the garlic and cook for about a minute more, being careful not to let it brown.

Italian cooks refer to this base step of sauteing onion and garlic to a dish as soffritto, the initial steps to give a dish its greatest flavor, upon which you build.

 

Time to Add the Rice

Once the onion and garlic are tender, add the Arborio rice and cook on medium-low, stirring constantly until glossy and coated with oil, about 2 minutes. Make sure to stir to the edges of your pan to include every grain of rice.

When making Risotto, I like to use my wooden spurtle, which has a flat edge and reaches easily into the “corners” of a pan. 

Now add the wine to the rice and stir until the alcohol is absorbed, about 1 minute.

When choosing a wine to use for this recipe, go with a dry white wine, and always use a wine that you enjoy drinking. If you are opposed to cooking with wine, simply omit this step, although it does give the dish wonderful flavor. 

Begin Adding Broth to the Rice, Stirring Frequently

Begin ladling in the chicken broth, about a cup at a time. Stir frequently until it is absorbed.

Frequent stirring dissolves the starch in the rice and produces the creaminess in Risotto. Once the broth is added to the rice, begin stirring, scraping the spurtle along the bottom and sides of the pan until the liquid has absorbed. Then repeat.

Test for Absorption by Running Spurtle Across Pan

Continue adding broth in this fashion until the rice has cooked to al dente and is creamy, approximately 20-25 minutes. Add broth, stir, cook, stir, and repeat. When you get close to al dente, you’ll want to reduce the amount of broth you add each time.

I like to start tasting the rice after 20 minutes to see how it is doing. For al dente, you want the rice to be tender, but firm to the bite. When it gets close to this stage, you will gradually reduce the amount of broth you add. Your finished risotto should be slightly moist, but not runny. You may or may not use up all the chicken broth. 

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto without Peas

Once you’ve achieved al dente, stir in the prepared vegetables and remove from heat.

You may notice that some of my photos have less asparagus (and no peas). This is because I used what was available in my refrigerator. So, use what you have. If you want to use 1/2 a bunch of asparagus, do so. If you want to refrain from adding peas, that’s perfectly fine. Not a fan of mushrooms…okay. But please do not change the amounts of onion or garlic, which are necessary for the flavor of this dish. 

 

The Final Step in Making Risotto – Mantecare

Stir in Butter and Freshly Grated Parmesan to Finish

For the finishing touch, add the remaining butter and freshly grated Parmesan. Swirl vigorously to combine. Taste and add more salt or black pepper, if desired.

If the risotto is too thick, you may thin it with a little bit of whole milk. I have never had to do this, but please know that it is okay to do if you need to! 

To Serve Garnish with More Fresh Parmesan and Parsley

Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm. Garnish with more freshly grated Parmesan and Fresh Parsley, if desired. Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto is the perfect dish to go with Salmon, Chicken, or Pork.

This recipe will serve 4-6 people. You may store leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave as desired. I will often enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day. Our youngest grandson loves it.

Recommended Wine for this Dish – Chardonnay, Riesling, Prosecco, or Pinot Gris.

See more Rice Dishes Here. Browse Side Dishes Here. View more Italian Recipes Here.

 

Recipe for Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

With just a little time and attention, this Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto is well worth trying! Creamy, satiny rice with bits of asparagus and mushrooms. You’ll feel like you’ve attained a great achievement!
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Arborio Rice, Asparagus Spears, Dry White Wine, Mushrooms
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Equipment

Grater/Zester
Dutch Oven 3 qt
Spurtle Set
Kitchen Utensil Set

Ingredients

  • 6 cubes chicken bouillon + 6 cups water or 6 cups chicken broth
  • 6 tablespoons butter divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch asparagus or 1/2 bunch
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas optional
  • 1/2 cup white mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup sweet onion minced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

  • Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.

Prepare the Ingredients

  • Using a knife and cutting board, trim and cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Slice the mushrooms.
  • Mince the sweet onion and garlic.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil the water and bouillon cubes (or chicken broth), and then reduce to a simmer, stirring to combine.
    You will keep the broth on simmer for the entire process of making this dish.

Saute the Vegetables

  • In a large skillet or saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter along with the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the prepared asparagus, mushrooms, and frozen peas (if using). Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender, stirring frequently, about 2-4 minutes.
    In testing out this dish, I've made it with and without peas. It is good either way, but I probably prefer it without. I'll leave that to your discretion.
  • Remove the vegetables from the pan and place in a bowl for use later.

Prepare the Base - The Soffritto

  • In the same pan, melt another 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add the minced onion and cook until tender, about 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Add to this the garlic and cook for about a minute more, being careful not to brown.
    Italian cooks refer to this base step of sauteing onion and garlic to a dish as soffritto, the initial steps to give a dish its greatest flavor, upon which you build.

Time to Add the Rice

  • Once the onion and garlic are tender, add the Arborio rice and cook on medium-low, stirring constantly until glossy and coated with oil, about 2 minutes. Make sure to stir to the edges of your pan to include every grain of rice.
  • Now add the wine to the rice and stir until the alcohol is absorbed, about 1 minute.
  • Begin ladling in the chicken broth, about a cup at a time. Stir frequently until it is absorbed.
  • Continue adding broth in this fashion until the rice has cooked to al dente and is creamy, approximately 20-25 minutes. Add broth, stir, cook, stir, and repeat.
    When you get close to al dente, you'll want to reduce the amount of broth you add each time.
  • I like to start tasting the rice after 20 minutes to see how it is doing. For al dente, you want the rice to be tender, but firm to the bite. When it gets close to this stage, you will gradually reduce the amount of broth you add. Your finished risotto should be slightly moist, but not runny. You may or may not use up all the chicken broth.
  • Once you've achieved al dente, stir in the prepared vegetables and remove from heat.

The Final Step - Mantecare

  • For the finishing touch, add the remaining butter and freshly grated Parmesan. Swirl vigorously to combine. Taste and add more kosher salt or freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm. Garnish with fresh parsley. Risotto is the perfect dish to go with Salmon, Chicken, or Pork. Serves 4-6.

Notes

*Unless otherwise indicated, all butter used on this recipe site is salted.
**If the risotto is too thick, you may thin it with a little bit of whole milk. I have never had to do this, but please know that it is okay to do if you need to!

Nutrition

Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 429mg | Potassium: 341mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1168IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 4mg
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