A couple of weeks ago I made a chili rice that sparked a conversation on the website about rice dishes.  From there I got a couple of emails requesting more rice dishes.  One of my favorite rice dishes is risotto.  With its creamy texture and dynamite slow cooked flavor it is a must have.  The one problem with risotto is that you have to stir it for the whole time that you make it.  It is not too bad, but you have to have your endurance up or else you will get risotto elbow.  Like tennis elbow, but much tastier.  This risotto is filled with asparagus and mushrooms.  Two ingredients that on their own are amazing but together they shine. They both have an earthiness that goes great with rice.  The hidden star in this risotto is the lemon zest that is added at the last minute before serving.  It adds a welcome hint of freshness that can not be beat.

Mushroom Asparagus Risotto

I am still nursing my risotto elbow injury, but I will be back tomorrow.  My trainer guarantees it.

Mushroom Asparagus Risotto – (Adapted from Alton Brown)

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms
  • 7 ounces asparagus
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan, approximately 1/2 cup
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Remove stems from mushrooms; set aside. Cut mushrooms into 1/2-inch pieces.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 the onion and 1 garlic clove and cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms and saute 5 minutes, until tender and releasing juice.

Saute the mushrooms

Trim the Asparagus to get rid of the woody ends.  Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil; prepare an ice-water bath. Place asparagus in boiling water and cook until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes; drain and immediately transfer to ice-water bath to cool. Drain and set aside.  After the asparagus are cooled, slice them into 2 inch pieces.

Fresh Asparagus

In a medium saucepan with a lid, combine chicken broth and white wine and heat just to simmering. Keep warm.

In a large skillet with 3 inch sides or a  3 to 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the remaining onions and a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the grains are translucent around the edges. Be careful not to allow the grains or the onions to brown.

Add the arborio rice

Reduce the heat to low. Add enough of the wine and chicken stock just to cover the top of the rice. Stir or move the pan often, until the liquid is completely absorbed into rice.

Add enough broth to just cover the rice

Once absorbed, add another amount of liquid just to cover the rice and continue stirring or moving as before. There should be just enough liquid left to repeat 1 more time.

Stir until the broth is asorbed

It should take approximately 35 to 40 minutes for all of the liquid to be absorbed. After the last addition of liquid has been mostly absorbed, add the mushrooms and asparagus and stir until risotto is creamy and asparagus is heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, lemon zest, and nutmeg.

Add the lemon zest

Taste and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Mushroom Asparagus Risotto


If you guys have any more suggestions for rice dishes let me know.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.


  1. I love asparagus but all I have right now is white asparagus which wouldn't look so great with this. I'll be trying this the next time I get some green asparagus.

    • The stores up here in DC have fabulous looking asparagus. Probably from someplace growing them under lights in a lab, but still super tasty. You could always mix in a little pesto to make the rice green and then use the white asparagus. Just a thought.

  2. I made this same recipe on Sunday night for my book club, but added shrimp. I just lightly floured the shrimp and cooked them. Then I chopped them up and added it to the finished risotto. That way almost every bit had some shrimp. So tasty! I'm a risotto addict. This tomato and sausage risotto is on my regularly-made list: http://smittenkitchen.com/2006/11/alexs-restauran….

    • SaraMae – Chopping up the ingredients is a great way to stretch a buck and give everyone the sense that they are getting a lot of meat. Nice link, I have not seen that risotto before, it looks really good.

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