Healthy cooking can be quick and easy! This vegetarian plate can be used as a side dish or as a main meal. Our Asparagus Leek Risotto is satisfying and fresh–we think you’ll love it. But, before you made this at home, read through a few tips on cooking risotto from our friends at ItalyinSF.

  1. Soffritto: Every great risotto starts with a good soffritto: sautéing onions in butter or olive oil.
  2. Tostatura: Tostatura comes from the verb meaning “to toast” and it refers to the rice grains. You will add your rice to the soffritto with no liquid, so that each grain gets warmed up.
  3. Stock: don’t use water; use stock.
  4. Resting: In order to prepare risotto for serving, you first need to give it a break. This means taking the rice off the heat when the rice grains are still a bit al dente and let it rest, without stirring.
  5. Mantecatura: (Optional) Beat in really cold butter cubes and fresh Parmigiano Reggiano shavings till you reach the right texture.

READY? Here we go … 

Asparagus Leek Risotto

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped leeks
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons organic butter
1 pound fresh asparagus, ends trimmed, chopped, heads set aside
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, roughly chopped
8 cups organic low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup fresh Parmigiano Reggiano shavings
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Sauté half of the leeks and one clove garlic in one tablespoon olive oil until soft. Add the butter, asparagus (except the heads) and thyme, and sauté until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper; set aside. In the same pan, sauté the asparagus heads, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat vegetable broth until warm and keep on low heat as you cook the risotto:

Sauté remaining leeks and garlic in two tablespoons olive oil. Add rice and stir constantly for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and cook over medium heat until almost completely absorbed. Add one cup of warmed broth at a time, stirring often, and let the rice absorb the liquid before adding more. When all the liquid has been absorbed, the rice should be creamy and slightly firm in texture. Add the asparagus and half the cheese, cooking just to melt. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Top each bowl with asparagus heads and some cheese before serving.