I love using fresh, springy ingredients – like asparagus, peas, and fresh mint – in a creamy comfort dish like risotto. It’s fun. The lighter, more delicate flavors almost hide in the decadent pockets of buttery bliss and then pop out to delight you. The key to making good risotto is patience. It’s not difficult; you just need to give the rice sufficient time to absorb the liquid before adding more. In culinary school in Italy, they taught us that plated risotto should be “al onde,” which translates to “to the wave.” In other words, it should flow (like a gentle wave – oh, how I love Italians and their culinary poetry!) to the edges when you tap the bottom of the plate.

While this recipe doesn’t yield risotto quite that loose, it should be creamy and definitely not able to hold its shape like a scoop of ice cream. If you get to the end of the recipe, and your risotto is too stiff, stir in a little water (no need to crack open another container of broth) until it reaches a creamy texture. Also, taste your rice after incorporating each cup of broth; you may find that your rice is cooked perfectly with 3 to 3 ½ cups of broth and that you won’t need the whole 4 cups. Remember to use both a wine and a broth that taste good to you on their own; those flavors will come through in the finished risotto.

Serves 4 

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 10 ounces baby bella or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ cups Arborio rice
  • 1½ cups dry white wine (I like to use Pinot Grigio)
  • 3 to 4 cups (low sodium) vegetable or chicken broth, divided
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut thinly on the bias into 1-inch-long pieces
  • ¾ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • ¾ cup frozen peas
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced


1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium Dutch oven (or other heavy bottomed pot or saucepan) over medium heat. Add the shallots, the mushrooms, and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms start to brown, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the rice and the garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the rice is coated and translucent around the edges, about 2 minutes.

3. Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until almost all the wine has been absorbed, 6 to 10 minutes.

4. Stir in 1 cup of broth and cook, stirring often, until almost all of the broth has been absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time, waiting for the previous broth to be absorbed before adding more. Taste the rice after incorporating each cup. You are looking for it to be tender but still a bit al dente. You may not need all 4 cups of broth.

5. Once all the broth has been added and absorbed, immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the asparagus on top of the rice. Cover the pot to steam the asparagus until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

6. Uncover, stir in the Parmigiano, the peas, the lemon zest, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. (If the risotto seems too stiff, go ahead and loosen it with a little broth or water at this point.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the mint over the top and serve.