Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr
8 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups risotto and 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese)

Clif Holt, chef-owner of Little Savannah in Birmingham, Alabama, prepares this classic risotto for harvest dinners at Jones Valley Urban Farm. For a vegetarian entrée, use vegetable broth.

How to Make It

Step 1

Place 1 cup asparagus and 1 cup broth in a blender; puree until smooth. Combine puree, remaining 2 cups broth, and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Step 2

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup broth mixture; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining puree mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes total). Stir in remaining 3 cups asparagus; cook 2 minutes.

Step 3

Stir in 3/4 cup cheese, cream, salt, and pepper. Transfer risotto to a bowl. Serve with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Little Savannah, Birmingham, Alabama

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Ratings & Reviews

Jing512's Review

February 10, 2012
Added the asparagus after I ran out of liquid only to find that the rice wasn't fully cooked. Had to add more water and chicken broth and that extra time allowed my asparagus to cook perfectly. Other than that this is a great recipe, I will definitely be making this again.

JillAltom's Review

February 01, 2011
I had the same difficulty with not enough liquid. Maybe it was the Arborio rice I used because the back of the box calls for three cups of liquid per cup of rice, so using that logic it should have needed 6 cups liquid and this recipe calls for only 4 and a half. I also echo the need to steam the asparagus first. 2 minutes does not cook it thorough enough for my tastes.

Alknutson8's Review

May 11, 2013

PenelopeRB's Review

June 08, 2010
This was good, although I would use a bit more liquid next time for more creaminess. The broth/puree absorbed well, and in the right time frame, but perhaps due to the altitude here the rice was a bit too toothy when the cooking time and broth was up, so I let it rest, covered, for a bit, prior to adding the asparagus. That helped. At the table we grated fresh Pecorino Romano on top, with some cracked pepper. It's really good, and actually better the next day leftover. Next time I'd use a stronger cheese, the Pecorino or maybe Asiago. Maybe add some rosemary too. Served with roasted sockeye salmon, it was a colorful spring meal.

lollypaul's Review

May 01, 2010
I made this tonight exactly according to the directions, except omitting the added salt (I did use salted butter). It was okay--I like the shiitake and spring pea risotto recipe from CL better, and this one makes way too much. I should have steamed the asparagus a little bit before adding, as it was pretty crunchy, I wouldn't buy a whole container of heavy whipping cream for this one recipe. I have a lot left over, so I'm going to add shrimp to it tomorrow for dinner. I had some crusty roasted garlic bread with it.

saracat's Review

April 12, 2010
My family and I really enjoyed this recipe. I made it as written and it came out perfect; very delicious and filling.

twoloves's Review

July 06, 2009
This was excellent. I did change a few minor things, however. I steamed the asparagus slightly before using it in the dish. I also sauteed some shrimp and added them at the end. Used half and half instead of heavy cream and didn't notice a bit of difference. An outstanding dish!

katnunchuck's Review

May 11, 2009
This was tasty, but I had a lot of issues while I was making it. I followed the recipe to the letter, but once all the broth was absorbed, the arborio was still very raw. I've made other risottos and I know there is supposed to be a little bit of "bite" in the rice at the end of cooking time, but it was way way too raw. So I ended up turning the heat way down and covering the risotto for 10 minutes. It cooked the risotto, and then I added the asparagus and stirred it around for two minutes as suggested, but the asparagus was not cooked at all. So I put the lid on that and let it sit for 5 minutes. At that point, the rice was a little overcooked, the bottom of my pan was burnt, and dinner was on the table 20 minutes later than planned. It was tasty, but I will stick with the other risotto recipes I've tried that don't give me this problem. Maybe I need to cook it on a lower heat so the liquid absorbs more slowly? It was taking more than the recommended 2 minutes per addition for the broth to absorb, so I feel like the recipe misled me.

winegirl308's Review

April 27, 2009
This was wonderful. Made it exactly as written and it came out beautifully. Will definitely add this one to my recipe box!

lnschram's Review

April 05, 2009
My husband and I loved this risotto - delicious! It was worth all the constant stirring. Still can't believe it's "light". Definitely best with thin spears of asparagus rather than thicker spears.