Asparagus & Lemon Risotto with Peas

This simple spring risotto is an excellent side dish for chicken or seafood, but it’s just as tasty on its own as a healthy weeknight meal. You can substitute fiber-rich pearl barley or a whole grain such as farro in place of the Arborio rice for an even healthier take on this dish. This recipe makes four servings.


  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped shallots (leeks or onions can be substituted)
  • 1 cup risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, stalks cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 cup thawed frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Bring stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in another saucepan. Cook shallots, stirring frequently, until soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Add rice, cook, stirring, until edges are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring, just until evaporated.

  3. Add 1/2 cup hot stock; cook, stirring, until almost absorbed. Continue adding 1/2 cup stock in this manner until liquid is creamy and rice is al dente, about 20 minutes total (you may not need to add all the stock). Add asparagus with the last addition of stock, and the peas about 1 minute before risotto is done.

  4. Remove from heat; stir in lemon zest and juice, parsley, cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with additional cheese, garnish with lemon zest.