You can always tell when it’s spring in my family because that’s when we have the first Baked Spinach Asparagus Risotto. In fact there’s fresh, wild asparagus incorporated into nearly every dish. Asparagus was never something we would buy at the store when I was growing up since we always had so much of it growing around our property. Because of that, we only ate it seasonally, but we sure made the most out of asparagus season!
This spring Daniel and I bought our first house–the Fricke Farmhouse. Since we now have 20 acres of land, of course I planted a huge garden. In on corner is my asparagus patch with a purple variety I planted. I can’t harvest any this year, but hopefully I can take a little next spring as the patch becomes more established.
There are so many delicious ways to eat asparagus. Sometimes we just have it grilled or steamed with melted butter on top. Other times I puree it into asparagus soup or add it to my Vegetarian Butternut Squash Lasagna . But one of my favorite spring dishes has always been this Baked Spinach Asparagus Risotto.
The Art of Risotto
During my time volunteering at Healthy Community Kitchens, I learned how to make authentic risotto. Technically, this recipe isn’t made with the true Italian technique, but it’s still very delicious. Risotto is actually one of those dishes that has to be very precise and takes some time to master. It uses Arborio rice which gets much creamier than regular rice. Then, the broth is added very gradually instead of all at once like in this recipe. In my Baked Spinach Asparagus Risotto, I do use Arborio, but add all the liquid at once. After it cooks for a while, I pop it in the oven to finish it off. This simpler baked version is perfect for rushed weeknight dinners when there isn’t much time for standing over the stove! Enjoy it as a main meal or side dish for chicken or fish with a squeeze of lemon juice.
More Recipes to Try
Baked Spinach Asparagus Risotto
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup onion (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 cup Arborio rice (uncooked)
- 8 cups spinach leaves (about 4 oz)
- 1½ cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup chardonnay
- ¼ tsp Celtic sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan (divided)
- 1 ½ cup asparagus (diagonally sliced in 1 inch pieces)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.
- Add onion and cook 4 minutes or until tender.
- Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring constantly to prevent it from burning.
- Add rice and mix well. Then stir in spinach, broth, wine, salt, and nutmeg.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese and asparagus.
- Transfer to an 8×8 baking dish or 9 inch pie plate. Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove cover and sprinkle on remaining cheese. Bake for another 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.