Recipe: Fava Bean and Asparagus Risotto

Cooking / Eating In

My first experience with risotto took place years ago, when I encountered a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall that specialized in his creamy, luscious grain.  One delicious bite and I was sold; risotto, whether made with Arborio, Camaroli or other short-grain rice varieties, is what I consider the perfect marriage of two of my favorite things – carbs and butter. Wheeee!

When I received a batch of fava beans from my CSA, I wanted to re-create one risotto variety that I had tried so many years ago: fava bean and asparagus risotto.  I found this recipe online, which was in turn adapted from Mario Batali’s risotto recipe.  I’ve featured a recipe for wild mushroom risotto on this blog before, and I won’t lie – risotto is a hands-on endeavor, and you WILL be standing by the stove stirring, stirring, stirring.  However, the results are well worth it, and apart from the constant stirring and monitoring, it is quite an easy but impressive dish!

You will need:

  • 1 pound asparagus, peeled, trimmed and cut into one-inch-long pieces; set aside tips
  • 1 cup of shelled favas (see my tutorial on preparing and shelling favas here)
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I ended up using 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 scallion, green parts chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring medium pot of water to a boil. Add half the chopped asparagus stalks (not the tips) and cook until soft, at least 5 minutes. Rinse quickly under cold water.

2. Put cooked asparagus in a blender or food processor and add just enough water or stock to allow machine to puree until smooth; set aside.

3. Put stock in a medium saucepan over low heat.

4. In  a large, deep nonstick skillet, put oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. When it is hot, add onion, stirring occasionally until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.

5. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add white wine, stir, and let liquid bubble away. Add a large pinch of salt. Add warmed stock, 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring occasionally. Each time stock has just about evaporated, add more.

6. After about 15 minutes, add remaining asparagus pieces and tips, continuing to add stock when necessary. In 5 minutes, add shelled fava beans, and begin tasting rice. You want it to be tender but with a bit of crunch; it could take as long as 30 minutes total to reach this stage.

7. Once it reaches that tender but crunchy phase, stir in 1/2 cup asparagus puree and chopped scallions.

8. Remove skillet from heat, add remaining butter and stir briskly.

9. Add Parmesan and stir briskly, then taste and adjust seasoning. Risotto should be slightly soupy. Garnish with parsley and additional Parmesan if desired, and serve immediately.

The extra effort by the stove top is definitely worth it – you are rewarded with rich, buttery risotto whose contents just sing of summer.  If you end up trying this recipe out, let me know how it goes!

What are your favorite risotto add-ins?

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  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I literally DROOL looking at your cooking. YUM!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I love risotto! I’ve never thought to put a summer spin on it before – it’s such a good, warming dish for fall. My favorite risotto recipe so far is Martha Stewart’s butternut squash and black kale risotto. It’s orange and black and perfect for Halloween dinner 🙂

  • Reply
    Sandra's Easy Cooking
    August 30, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Really delicious…love how you made this dish!!!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    love a good risotto, and asparagus is always a fabulous addition!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I love me a good rissotto! It looks delicious! I am impressed that you cook it in that skillet, we use a different kind of pot/dish, but I forget what it’s called right now.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    looks delicious! you’re a risotto pro!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I’m not sure I’ve ever had risotto but asparagus is my fave! Sounds delish!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    You had me at risotto. Yum!! It is one of my absolute favorites!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Looks so yummy! I’ve never tried making homemade risotto before but it’s now on my list. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I love asparagus risotto, but I’ve never added fava beans. Great idea.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    I’d never actually had risotto until the Mr decided to make it one evening last year. Love it so much! I had this impression that it was scary and hard to make, but really all you have to do is stir!
    I did a radish risotto at the beginning of the summer, with some CSA radishes we got.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2011 at 1:22 am

    I always see on Chopped and Top Chef and other cooking shows that if you dont get the Risotto just right the judges hate you! I actually have never, or cant remember, if Ive ever had Risotto. But yours looks really good and really easy to make. Im still in the “Oh I would love to make that” but I just look at the photos and read the foodie blogs and never do anything about it stage!!

  • Reply
    August 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    this looks delish. I will have to try it! Risotto scares me b/c I’m a very impatient person!

  • Reply
    Makes Me Blush
    September 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    YUM! I love risotto, but I don’t think I have the patience to make it. This is what I call a “restaurant food”. I’m not ashamed to pay for convenience, lol.

  • Reply
    Big Apple Nosh: NYC Food Blog | New York | Food | Restaurants | Recipes | Reviews | Veggie Resolution #16: Fava Bean and Mint Salad with Parmesan
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    […] recently posted a tutorial on how to prepare fava beans, as well as a yummilicous recipe for fava bean and asparagus risotto.  As opposed to the risotto recipe, which takes a bit of time to prepare (though well worth it, in […]

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