Asparagus and Artichoke Risotto (Risotto ai Carciofi)

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A light and fresh risotto that’s perfect for a spring dinner, this asparagus and artichoke risotto is full of flavour and super easy to make. The asparagus and artichokes are shallow-fried to enhance their aroma and the lemon takes this risotto ai carciofi to the next level.

Nothing says spring better than asparagus and artichokes, and this risotto ai carciofi is a true celebration of this amazing combo. This is a very simple dish that tastes so much better than you’d expect looking at the ingredients.

This is a comforting vegetarian risotto that’s naturally creamy and made deliciously tangy by the addition of lemon juice, which really bumps up the flavour. To make this lemon artichoke risotto perfect, I use just a bit of butter to fry the shallots, but don’t add any extra cream or butter at the end. There’s really no need, as the texture is perfect just the way it is.

What do you need to make this asparagus and artichoke risotto?

Many asparagus risotto recipes call for steamed asparagus tips, but I like to take things up a notch, so I shallow fry them in a bit of extra virgin olive oil for extra flavour.

This is a risotto that works great with globe artichokes, but since I live in the UK, where it’s very difficult to get your hands on them, I often make it with tinned artichoke hearts.

image of risotto

If you can get fresh artichokes, use those instead. Slice them finely and cook until tender, a couple of minutes more than you’d do with tinned artichoke hearts.

You also need Carnaroli or Arborio risotto for this recipe. Both these rice types have a high starch content, which is essential for that perfect creamy texture.

How do you make the risotto?

To make this asparagus risotto, start by heating the olive oil and shallow-fry the asparagus over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until it has the texture of your liking. I like it a bit on the crispy side but not dry, either. Add the artichoke hearts and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove the asparagus and artichokes from the pan with a slotted spoon and set them aside.

In the same pan, melt the butter and fry the shallots and garlic, and then add the rice and toast it for 1 minute, stirring often. Don’t skip this step because toasting the rice is one of the secrets of making a perfect risotto. Toasting creates a shell around each grain of rice, which will allow them to absorb the liquid without getting soggy.

image of risotto cooking steps

Lower the heat a bit and add the wine. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the alcohol evaporates. Add 1/4 of the stock and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring often. Add more stock and repeat until all the stock is gone. The rice is done when it’s al dente and there’s still some liquid left in the pan.

Transfer the asparagus and artichokes back to the pan, then stir in the lemon juice, Parmesan, and parsley. Season to taste and serve with extra grated Parmesan on top.

a plate of artichoke risotto

Recipe tips for the perfect risotto

  • Don’t wash the rice you use in risotto because it strips off the starch, and you need that if you want your risotto to be creamy.
  • While toasting the rice is an essential step, make sure you don’t toast it for too long. One or two minutes should be enough.
  • Stirring is essential when making risotto, but don’t overdo it, as you’ll ruin the texture. Always cook risotto on low to medium heat and only stir it about once every 30 seconds.
  • Make sure the Parmesan is vegetarian as some varieties use animal rennet.
a plate of asparagus and artichoke risotto

If you liked this asparagus and artichoke risotto, have a look at some of my other risotto recipes:

Risotto with Italian Sausages (Risotto con Salsiccia)

Risotto All’Amatriciana

Mushroom and Walnut Risotto with Taleggio (Risotto ai Funghi Misti)

Creamy Smoked Salmon and Rocket Risotto

Hungry for more? 😄 Follow Skinny Spatula on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest!

Yield: 4

Asparagus and Artichoke Risotto (Risotto ai Carciofi)

a plate of Italian food

A light and fresh risotto that's perfect for a spring dinner, this asparagus and artichoke risotto is full of flavour and super easy to make. The asparagus and artichokes are shallow-fried to enhance their aroma and the lemon takes this risotto ai carciofi to the next level.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 g (7 oz) asparagus spears, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
  • 1 x 400 g (14 oz) artichoke hearts tin, drained and quartered
  • 30 g (1 ounce) butter
  • 2 medium shallots, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 250 g (9 oz) Carnaroli rice
  • 75 ml (2.5 fl oz) dry white wine
  • 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 30 g (1 ounce) Parmesan, grated, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

    1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and shallow-fry the asparagus over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until it has the texture of your liking. Add the artichoke hearts and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove the asparagus and artichokes from the pan with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
    2. In the same pan, melt the butter and fry the shallots for 1-2 minutes until they soften. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute. Next, add the rice to the pan and toast it for 2 minutes, stirring often.
    3. Lower the heat and add the wine. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the alcohol evaporates. Add 1/4 of the stock and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring often. Add more stock and repeat until all the stock is gone. The rice is done when it's al dente and there's still some liquid left in the pan.
    4. Transfer the asparagus and artichokes back to the pan, then stir in the lemon juice, Parmesan, and parsley. Season to taste and serve with extra grated Parmesan on top.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 344Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 23mgSodium 961mgCarbohydrates 41gFiber 8gSugar 5gProtein 9g

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.

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