This post is written in partnership with Filippo Berio
Risotto has a reputation of being finicky and tricky, but in reality it’s not difficult when you’re working with the right ingredients.
Here, asparagus roasted in extra-virgin olive oil and coated with a balsamic glaze is the star of the show with only a few supporting cast members: good stock, peas, onions, lemon, Parmesan, and of course, rice. Comfort in a bowl awaits.
Video! How to Make Risotto with Balsamic-Roasted Asparagus
Which Rice Should I Use?
For traditional style risotto, you need short-grain, starchy rice such Italian Arborio or Carnaroli. Asian or Spanish bomba short-grain rice will also work in a pinch.
The Best Stock For the Job
Your stock should taste good enough to sip by itself; no amount of added cheese can rescue the risotto if the stock is not good.
For that reason, we love homemade stock because the flavor is bold and clean. Of course, if you’re a vegetarian, a vegetable stock is a great option, too. And if you’re in a hurry, there’s no shame in store bought!
Although many recipes recommend adding hot stock to the pot when you’re making your risotto, we’ve found that it’s not a necessary step—you can use hot stock if you want, but even cold or room temperature stock will produce the results you want.
Prepping the Veggies!
Thick asparagus spears are the best for roasting, since the thin spears tend to dry out more quickly in the oven. To preserve more of the spears, instead of trimming the tough ends by breaking them, slice off about 1 inch from the bottom and peel the stalks. After peeling, the stems will be tender rather than tough when they are roasted.
As for the peas, use either frozen or fresh. If you go the frozen route, defrost them quickly by covering them with boiling or very hot water, leave for a minute or two, and then drain. They can be stirred into the rice and cooked just long enough to reheat them. If you use fresh peas, simply stir them into the risotto a few minutes before it is ready. They only take a few minutes to cook.
How to Get the Creamiest Risotto?
We’ve got a few tips up our sleeve that will guarantee you have winning risotto each and every time:
- Use a deep saucepan, as opposed to a wide one, as it’ll help limit evaporation (and you want all that liquid to stay put so your rice doesn’t dry out).
- You can add about 2 cups of stock to the pot initially, and when it’s absorbed, begin adding it more slowly, stirring, and waiting until it is absorbed before adding more. This way, the rice becomes creamier with each addition.
Once the rice is al dente (a grain of rice should be tender but show a speck of white in the middle when you bite into it) stir in the peas, asparagus, and Parmesan. Then add a final splash of stock just before serving to create a saucy consistency.