Lemony Asparagus Risotto

By Dr Ernst
March 21, 2023


1 bunch asparagus
1 large leek (or white onion, diced)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
1 cup arborio rice
3 1/2– 4 cups hot veggie broth
1/2 cup basil leaves (or sub part Parsley)
1 lemon, zest, and some juice to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Garnish: lemon zest, basil ribbons, pecorino cheese, optional toasted pinenuts (or other nuts or seeds), chili flakes, Leek oil (optional), or a drizzle of olive oil.


  1. Boil water on the stove. Blanch the 1 1/2 cups of asparagus “middles” (without the tips), until tender and vibrant, about 5 minutes. Drain, but reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Blend the blanched asparagus with the 1 cup cooking liquid, 2 tablespoons oil and the basil leaves. Set aside.
  2. Thinly slice leeks. Sauté in 2 tbsp olive oil with garlic. Cook for 6-8 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add arborio rice, for one minute. Add 1 cup hot veggie broth, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to a gentle simmer, over med-low heat stirring occasionally, Continue adding the hot broth 1 cup at a time, letting the rice absorb it slowly, each time, stirring often.
  4. Combine: Stir in blended asparagus-basil “sauce”, add the salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, and taste.
  5. Garnish with pecorino cheese, lemon zest, and chili flakes.
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