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Three-Grain Risotto with Asparagus Spears

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.

Cooking Light APRIL 2004

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


  • 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.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 393
  • Calories from fat: 24%
  • Fat: 10.5g
  • Saturated fat: 3.9g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4.5g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g
  • Protein: 17.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 57.3g
  • Fiber: 6.3g
  • Cholesterol: 18mg
  • Iron: 2.9mg
  • Sodium: 638mg
  • Calcium: 275mg

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Three-Grain Risotto with Asparagus Spears Recipe