Summer vegetable risotto is a great way to eat the seasons! Stop by your local farmers market to get your produce, grab a good bottle of white wine (it’s for the recipe!), and get ready for an absolutely divine meal.
Risotto is such a special dish for me. When I was growing up, my mom would make risotto when she had really great veggies from the market, and it was always so delicious. She taught me that, like anything worth having in life, making risotto takes patience. I’ll dive into the process below, but the general idea is that you slowly cook your arborio rice by pouring your liquid into your pan in small batches until it is fully absorbed, and then you repeat several times. There is also a lot of stirring involved.
You will often see risottos offered on fancier restaurant menus that showcase that season’s produce. Well my friends, I’m here to tell you that you too can make this fancy dish to wow your family and friends!
Why You’ll Love This Risotto Recipe
Level of difficulty: Moderate. I would not call risotto a difficult dish, however, you do have to pay close attention to your pan the entire time. It is important to allow all of the liquid to be absorbed before you pour in the next round, and to stir almost continuously to keep the rice from sticking to the pan.
Time: It will take you about 40 minutes to make your summer vegetable risotto.
Fresh Produce: This risotto recipe uses curly kale, asparagus, and green onions.
Arborio Rice: Arborio rice is the most common rice for risotto in the US. Arborio rice is high in amylopectin, a starch that dissolves during the cooking process which gives risotto it’s creamy texture. Other rice varieties that are good for risotto are vialone nano or carnaroli.
Broth: Broth adds depth of flavor to your risotto (see below for a few broth options).
Parmesan: Adding in grated parmesan wonderful flavor and helps to bind the risotto together
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Broth Options for Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Kale
You have several broth options for preparing this summer vegetable risotto recipe:
- Chicken Broth – A very nice choice for most risottos
- Vegetable Broth – A perfect option to make this into a vegetarian risotto recipe
- Bone Broth – A great choice for additional protein, collagen, and additional nutrients. I like and use this chicken bone broth and this one too. I’ve also used this rosemary and lemon bone broth for this recipe and it was great too!
- Blanch asparagus: In a medium sauce pan filled half-full with water, bring water to a boil. Place cut up asparagus into boiling water for 2-3 minutes until a fork can just puncture a piece. Pour into a colander to drain and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside. *Note: if you are good at multi-tasking, you can do this while you stir your rice – do what works best for you!
- Sauté green onion and kale: In a large skillet, sauté butter, olive oil, green onion, and kale until kale is slightly softened and bright green (~3-4mins)
- Toast the rice: Add the dry rice to your pan and sauté until coated and slightly translucent (~2mins)
- Add the wine: Add wine and stir until absorbed
- Gradually add the broth: Add broth ~¾-1 cup at a time (to just cover rice). Stir until all liquid is absorbed. Continue to add broth in ~¾ cup increments until all broth is used and the rice is cooked (~20-25 minutes). Risotto is done when it is al dente (cooked firm to the bite). If you’d prefer a softer rice, add an additional ½ – 1 cup of broth.
- Add in the lemon zest and lemon juice: With the last round of broth, add in the lemon zest and 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Stir in parmesan and cooked asparagus: Stir in the parmesan and asparagus. Taste and add additional lemon juice, salt and pepper if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Store Leftovers: Although risotto is best served immediately, you can store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.
What is the Best Wine for Risotto?
The best wine for risotto is a dry, crisp white wine. The best varieties of white wine for risotto include:
- Pinot Grigio
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Chardonnay (make sure it is an unoaked variety!)
Don’t rush it. Seriously, don’t do it! Adding your liquid in small increments and continuously stirring is an integral part of making the perfect risotto. This allows your rice to cook slowly which in turn will help to create that creamy risotto you are hoping to achieve. Another risk of trying to rush the cooking process is undercooked, crunchy rice. Not worth it.
Pro tip: don’t forget to chill your bottle of wine before you cook! That way you can have a little something to sip on while you make your risotto. You need ½ cup of white wine for this (and most) risotto recipe. Chilling your bottle of wine ahead of time allows you to pour yourself a glass to enjoy while you stir, stir, stir…I highly recommend it.
Other summer vegetable options that would work in this recipe: If you like to eat seasonally but aren’t able to find fresh green onions, kale or asparagus (or want to add a wider variety of veggies to this dish) you still have many great options! Other summer vegetables that would be delicious in this risotto recipe are fresh green peas (out of the shell), baby spinach (stems removed, ribboned, and stirred in with the last round of broth), shallots (finely chopped, sautéed with the butter and olive oil before toasting your rice).
Do I need warm my broth to make risotto? A lot of resources will tell you that warm broth will make a better risotto. If I’m being honest, I’ve never done this. I usually use room-temperature broth from my pantry. However, if you’d like to use warm broth, place your broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat before you start.
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Summer Vegetable Risotto
- 2 tablespoon salted butter
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ C green onion chopped finely
- 2 C kale stemmed and cut into sm. pieces
- ½ lb asparagus snapped and chopped into ~1″ pieces
- 1 + ½ C Arborio rice
- ½ C white wine I use Pinot Grigio
- 4 C broth of choice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1-2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 C grated parmesan
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium sauce pan filled half-full with water, bring water to a boil. Place cut up asparagus into boiling water for 2-3 minutes until a fork can just puncture a piece. Pour into a colander to drain and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, sauté butter, olive oil, green onion, and kale until kale is slightly softened and bright green (~3-4mins)
- Add dry rice to pan and sauté until coated and slightly translucent (~2mins)
- Add wine and stir until absorbed
- Add broth ~¾-1 C at a time (to just cover rice). Stir until all liquid is absorbed. Continue to add broth in ~¾C increments until all broth is used and rice is cooked (~20-25mins). Add the lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with the last round of broth
- Stir in parmesan and cooked asparagus. Taste and add additional lemon juice, salt and pepper if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!