Three-Grain Risotto with Asparagus Spears

Rice, barley, and quinoa give this risotto contrasting textures--creaminess from the rice, chewiness from the barley, and crunch from the quinoa. Flowering herbs make a pretty garnish.


4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup risotto, 3 asparagus spears, and about 1 teaspoon pine nuts)

Recipe from

Cooking Light

Nutritional Information

Calories 393
Caloriesfromfat 24 %
Fat 10.5 g
Satfat 3.9 g
Monofat 4.5 g
Polyfat 1.4 g
Protein 17.3 g
Carbohydrate 57.3 g
Fiber 6.3 g
Cholesterol 18 mg
Iron 2.9 mg
Sodium 638 mg
Calcium 275 mg


1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup uncooked Arborio or other short-grain rice
1/2 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 asparagus spears, steamed
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted


Bring saffron and broth to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté 3 minutes. Add rice, barley, and quinoa; sauté 2 minutes. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed. Stir in 1 cup water; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total).

Remove from heat; stir in cheese and next 4 ingredients (cheese through pepper). Top with asparagus spears, and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Sandra Granseth,

Cooking Light

April 2004
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