You always know when it’s spring in my family because that’s when 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!
Sometimes we would just have it grilled or steamed with melted butter on top. Other times it would be pureed in asparagus soup or added to my mom’s famous veggie lasagna (hopefully a post on this coming soon). But one of my favorite spring dishes has always been asparagus risotto.
During my time volunteering at Healthy Community Kitchens, I learned how to make authentic risotto. It was only then that I realized that this recipe isn’t true risotto. That being said, risotto is one of those dishes that has to be very precise and takes some time to master. So while I work on developing that skill, enjoy this simpler baked version!
Makes 4, 1 cup servings
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
8 cup spinach leaves (about 4 oz)
2 cup vegetable broth*
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup fresh, grated Parmesan cheese, divided (2 oz)
1 1/2 cup diagonally sliced asparagus (about 1 inch pieces) **
Preheat oven to 400°F
Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add rice and stir well. Stir in spinach, broth, salt, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese.
Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Stir in asparagus and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed.
*Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth to make it vegetarian.
**Also try substituting half of the asparagus with peas (as pictured).