Browned Butter Asparagus Risotto

By • November 22, 2009 11 Comments

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Author Notes: I have definitely embraced the browned butter trend. These days I love to use it in cookies, make it into a sauce with sage or thyme, or in risotto. We happen to love asparagus in our house so I often add it to risotto, but this recipe is flexible and would work well with other vegetables.Kelsey Banfield

Serves 4

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock (homemade preferred, but Knorr cubes are fine, too)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • Kosher salt & fresh pepper
  1. Trim the asparagus and blanch it in a pot of boiled water. Once it is tender enough to be speared with a fork, drain the water and cut the asparagus into 2" pieces. Set aside.
  2. In a low-wide saucepan, or a specialty risotto pan if you have one, heat 4 T. of butter over medium heat. Allow the butter to warm until it gets bubbly and turns a golden brown and has a nutty fragrance. This takes a little under 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped onion to pan and allow it to simmer in the browned butter until translucent and tender. About 4-5 minutes.
  4. Next, add the rice and stir until it is coated with the butter and well-mixed with the onion, then add the wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up any browned bits.
  5. Simmer until the wine has almost evaporated. Then, add 1/2 c. of the chicken stock and stir until it is completely absorbed. Continue adding the chicken stock by 1/2 c., stirring constantly, until it is all absorbed. About 10 minutes.
  6. Once all the chicken stock has been added, cook until the rice is tender to the bite. About 8-10 minutes. Then remove risotto from heat and stir in the remaining parmesan and butter. Taste the risotto and if it needs more salt add the Kosher salt pinch by pinch, stirring after each addition until it suits your taste. (I find that when I use unsalted homemade stock I need to add salt, but I don't when I use the Knorr bouillon cubes which are already salty).
  7. Finally, using a wooden spoon, stir the asparagus pieces into the risotto and finish off with a few cranks for black pepper if you want. Serve hot.

More Great Recipes: Rice & Grains|Entrees|Side Dishes|Risotto|Asparagus

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Comments (11) Questions (0)


over 2 years ago Kari2011

I made this Sunday. It was excellent and then followed one suggestion to fry some of the leftovers. Both times it was excellent. I topped the second round with roasted shrimp. Excellent.


over 3 years ago fhp

If you have any asparagus risotto leftover try making a "Riso al Salto"* with Asparagi alla Bismark (fried egg and parmigiano) on top. Did so for a Sunday brunch a couple of days ago and Oh what heaven.

*press cold risotto into non stick pan and slowly fry till a thick crunchy crust forms. Flip and cook till other side is crusty as well.


almost 4 years ago Turtle Wexler

I've made this recipe several times, and it is fantastic. Instead of steaming the asparagus, I roast the spears with olive oil and then slice them into smaller pieces when cool. The one time I had leftovers of this dish, I made arancini, and they were equally delicious. Once asparagus comes back in season, I'm going to try that again.


over 5 years ago sygyzy

Great simple recipe. You may want to consider cooking your asparagus in a little bit of (browned) butter in a pan instead of boiling it. Asparagus has flavor compounds that are water soluble so when you cook it in water, all of it is lost. That's why the water has a green tint. Try it out for yourself next time and compare the flavors.


over 5 years ago ENunn

Kelsey, I made this last night, from ingredients that I had in the house, for a dinner alone. It was perfect! I have the leftovers and I am going to spread them out in a nonstick pan and make a big crispy pancake to serve for lunch. Thank you! It really was just the thing.


over 5 years ago Lizthechef

What is it about browned butter that finishes a dish so nicely? Great tip - and asparagus in the pantry from yesterday's Farmers Market foray...


over 5 years ago Kelsey Banfield

I know, Browned butter always does the trick with a multitude of dishes. I even just did a cookie recipe with browned butter and it was so yummy!


almost 6 years ago Kelsey Banfield

Thanks so much Maria! I adore artichokes too (wouldn't you love it if Food52 did an artichoke contest?!!) and I think this recipe would work really well with artichoke hearts instead of asparagus. Browning the butter occurred to me a couple of years ago after I read about the trend and now I do it in lots of things I make these days - it is so easy and delicious. I bet your asparagus recipe is delicious. :)


almost 6 years ago Maria Teresa Jorge

I love asparagus risotto, well I love them all but especially artichokes and asparagus. I will try this recipe, never thought about browning the butter. You are incredibly imaginatif, well done. Won't post my asparagus recipe, it's too bland next to yours.


almost 6 years ago Kelsey Banfield

That is a great idea, tossing browned butter with pasta and cheese. It is such a simple way to amp up the flavor of any dish!


over 5 years ago dymnyno

Asparagus!!! They are popping out everywhere!! Spring is here!! I love the little spears fresh out of the ground. You can almost see them growing it happens so fast. So tender for a dish like risotto. Great classic Italian recipe.