This white bean risotto with asparagus is a luxuriously rich and flavorful, thanks to the creamy white beans. It’s enhanced with fresh asparagus and a wonderful blend of wholesome and rustic flavors. Its creamy consistency is balanced with a heartiness that makes it an exceptional comfort food.
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- Rice: Arborio is an Italian short grain rice that cooks up exceptionally creamy.
- White beans: My go to are canned Cannellini beans or great northern beans. Using canned beans makes this a very quick recipe.
- Vegetable Stock: I normally use the “Better Than Bouillon” brand so I can make exactly the amount needed without any waste. Of course if you have homemade stock, that is the way to go!
- Thyme: Fresh herbs significantly enhance the flavors of this dish. Thyme, in particular, is an excellent choice to complement the creamy texture of the beans.
Using White Wine in Risotto
- The acidity and fruitiness of white wine enhance the overall flavor profile of the risotto. It adds a subtle but distinct depth and complexity that can’t be achieved with broth alone.
- Also the wine is perfect for deglazing, by adding wine after sautéing the onions and toasting the rice helps to deglaze the pan, lifting any flavorful bits stuck to the bottom. This process ensures that these flavors are incorporated into the dish, adding to its richness.
- The acidity in the wine also helps in breaking down the starches in the rice, contributing to the creamy texture that is characteristic of a good risotto.
- White wine imparts a pleasing aroma to the dish, enhancing the overall sensory experience of eating risotto.
Make it a pantry meal.
I like to have several go recipes that don’t require any refrigerated or highly perishable items and this Risotto recipe is easily adjusted.
- Onions: Although the onions have a medium shelf life, its good to have some dehydrated minced onions on hand if you find yourself without a fresh onion. You can find dried and minced onions in the herbs and spice aisle of the grocery store.
- Asparagus: You can use a canned asparagus or ones marinated in a jar. But I would suggest eliminating them and opting for a canned mushroom or canned collard greens.
- Lemon: Use a lemon pepper instead.
Tips For A Perfect Risotto
- Don’t Rinse: The rice needs its natural starch to achieve that creamy texture we all crave in a risotto.
- Sauté the Rice First: Don’t skip this step! Gently toast the rice grains in the pan for a short time. This step coats each grain with a thin barrier, helping to maintain the perfect texture by preventing the starch from releasing too quickly and becoming sticky. To enhance the richness of your dish you can saute in butter instead of olive oil.
- The Stock or Broth: Heated stock is absorbed more efficiently, maintaining a consistent cooking temperature. Traditional risotto often uses a 4:1 ratio of liquid to rice.
- Stir Regularly: Risotto requires your undivided attention and a gentle, yet frequent stirring. This process is key to achieving the ideal consistency. While it doesn’t demand constant stirring, frequent attention is a must.
Recipe Prep Steps
Prep 1: Zest the lemon and chop the asparagus.
Prep 2: Chop and mince the onion, garlic and thyme.
Step 3: In a 1.5 quart heavy bottom saucepan , heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute for 1 – 2 minutes until starting to soften
Step 4: Add the rice. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until rice becomes translucent on the edges.
Step 5: Add about a quarter cup of the vegetable broth (or wine) and stir to lift any rice grains stuck to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the remaining broth, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Step 6: Reduce heat slightly and cook for 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed, stirring regularly. (leave the saucepan uncovered)
Step 7: Turn the heat to low. Stir in the the lemon zest, asparagus, and white beans. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly until the asparagus is cooked to desired texture.
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How to Serve
This is a wonderful rustic dinner for one. Alternately you can serve as a side dish for two people.
The risotto should be served immediately and as an added touch, sprinkle a little grated Parmesan over the rice .
In Italy, I made this recipe many times with Mushroom, its so tasty. To substitute using mushrooms you would add them with the onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two.
White Bean Risotto with Asparagus
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon onion minced
- ½ cup arborio rice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme wash and chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 stalk asparagus trimmed and chopped
- ¼ cup cooked white beans drained
- 2 cup vegetable broth low sodium
- Mince onion and garlic.
- Trim the ends from the asparagus at their natural breaking point. Cut the asparagus spears into 1 long pieces.
- In a 1.5 quart heavy bottom saucepan , heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute for 1 – 2 minutes until starting to soften.
- Add the rice. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until rice becomes translucent on the edges.
- Add about a quarter cup of the vegetable broth and stir to lift any rice grains stuck to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the remaining broth, thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Reduce heat slightly and cook for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed, stirring regularly. (leave the saucepan uncovered)
- Turn the heat to low. Stir in the the lemon zest, asparagus, and white beans. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly until the asparagus is cooked to desired texture.
- Thick asparagus will take longer to cook. To start the process, blanch the chopped asparagus in boiling water for 30 seconds.
- You can substitute butter for the olive oil for a deeper richer flavor.
- This recipe can also be made with a long grain rice.
- You can substitute another in-season vegetable.