Weeknight Cooking

Risotto-Style Pasta with Asparagus and Lemon

June 12, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Adapted from Kate Flaim, via Design Sponge, and Alain Ducasse. —Sarah Jampel

What You'll Need
  • 5 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or light chicken stock)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning
  • 1 pound short, good-quality pasta (Ducasse recommends artisanal strozzapreti; I used penne)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed and sliced into 1-inch pieces if large and burly
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Crumbled feta (optional)
  1. Pour the broth into a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer on the stovetop.
  2. On another burner, heat the olive oil in a large, wide skillet. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the dried pasta and stir it around to coat it in the oil and the shallots.
  4. Use a ladle to transfer about 1 1/2 cups of stock from the saucepan to the pasta skillet.
  5. Cook, stirring gently, until nearly all stock has evaporated. Add another cup of stock, and cook, stirring, until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed, but not all—like you're making risotto. Add more stock from time to time until the pasta is al dente (taste frequently!), about 18 minutes. When your pasta is about 5 minutes from being done, add the asparagus pieces—you want to make sure they're cooked through by the time the pasta is ready.
  6. When the pasta is at the desired firmness, take it off the heat, shower with Parmesan and lemon zest and fold to incorporate. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • GeoffLusk
  • Pkkell
  • FrugalCat
  • Catherine Drance
    Catherine Drance
  • Domanique Alicia
    Domanique Alicia

8 Reviews

GeoffLusk November 29, 2022
This “risotto style” pasta technique takes pasta to the next level. You can play around endlessly with different ingredients. Only problem is that boiling dried pasta will never be quite as satisfying after you try this.
Pkkell March 16, 2022
I simplified step #5 by cutting and cooking asparagus in chicken broth before cooking pasta in broth. I agree with reviewer suggesting to cut back on the volume of broth.
FrugalCat January 19, 2021
SO good! I used small shell pasta and green beans instead of asparagus. This was more of a side dish. served alongside chicken sausages.
Catherine D. June 20, 2018
This dish is amazing! With or without any cheese (or lemon because I left it at the store) it’s still amazing and a great base if you want to get creative!
Domanique A. September 26, 2017
I really enjoyed this recipe, and it was dead easy. I have a 3mo baby, and was able to pull this off easily while juggling his bed time. :)

The only things that I would change are:
- I only used 4.5cups of broth
- I would maybe put in some veggies that were a little more crisp in addition to the asparagus. Or maybe my desire for "crunchy" would have been fulfilled by some crusty bread on the side. :)
Tina O. July 12, 2016
Added chicken, a little garlic, and some truffle salt –delicious!
ChefJune June 19, 2016
Can't believe no one has commented yet. Thanks, Sarah. I am SO making this to go with our lamb chops for Fathers Day dinner. Just perfect. And I even have the strozzapreti!
Sarah J. June 30, 2016
Hope you enjoyed it, ChefJune!