As soon as we spot the first vernal greens in our market stalls, we simply can’t wait to usher in the Spring Risotto Season. Spinach, peas, artichokes, asparagus, fava beans, ramps: these Primavera treasures call for creamy, satisfying risotti.
For this recipe, we paired a creamy base of spinach with crunchy bites of roasted asparagus, then tied everything together with a lush mantecatura of butter and Vacche Rosse cheese. Watch us in action to learn how to master mantecatura and make the most velvety risotto.
Not an asparagus/spinach lover? You can easily switch the ingredients by using your favorite Spring vegetables!
SERVES: 3-4 people
TIME: 45 minutes
Vialone Nano rice, 300 gr/10 oz
Shallots, 3-4, finely chopped
Vegetable stock, 5 cups
White wine, 1/2 cup
Vacche Rosse cheese, grated, 1 and 1/2 cups
Butter, 2 tablespoons
Asparagus, about 500 gr/1.1 lb
Baby spinach, about 500 gr/1.1 lb
EVOO, 3 tablespoons
Fine sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Trim and save the woody ends of the asparagus.
- Add the trimmed ends of the asparagus to the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Keep covered.
- Coat the asparagus spears with two tablespoons of EVOO, salt, and pepper. In a sheet pan, cook the asparagus at 450°F for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through. The tips should be browned and the spears tender. Once cooled, cut into 1-inch pieces, keeping the tips separated from the spears.
- With a blender or mixer, process the spinach with a cup of stock until smooth.
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, sauté on medium-low heat the shallots in one tablespoon of EVOO until translucent (3-4 minutes).
- Add the rice and increase the heat to medium-high. Stir and toast the grains for a few minutes, then pour the white wine.
- Once the wine is reduced, add the pureed spinach to the rice and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice kernels absorb the puree (about 3 minutes).
- Discard the woody ends from the stock and pour it into the rice, a cup at a time, waiting until each additional cup has been absorbed before adding the next one. After about 10 minutes, add the asparagus spears and keep stirring gently.
- At the end of cooking time (about 20 minutes), turn off the heat and add butter and grated cheese. Stir until butter is melted.
- Let the risotto rest covered for 5 minutes before serving.
- Finish each plate with the asparagus tips and some shaved Vacche Rosse cheese.