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Asparagus, Pea and Saffron Risotto (with Shrimp)


I spotted this recipe on the Quinces and the Pea Food Blog. I made only a couple of minor tweaks, and then I added some quickly sauteed shrimp on top of the risotto for some extra protein. Risotto isn't that difficult to make; just be sure to use either Arborio or Carnoroli rice (much starchier). The rice should be very slightly al dente, and the chicken stock is slowly added until it becomes creamy from the starch of the rice. Saffron is added for some pretty color, fresh lemon juice and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Served with a chilled glass of white wine, you have a romantic (and comforting) dinner for two!

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Rate this recipe 4.6/5 (14 Votes)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, chopped finely
  • 1 cup carnaroli (or arborio) rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I use Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 healthy pinch of saffron* (about 3/4 teaspoon)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 cup fresh asparagus (3-4 spears), cut into quarter-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (don't thaw)
  • salt, to taste
  • grated parmigiano reggiano for garnish
  • lemon zest for garnish
  • about a scant 1/4 tsp of tumeric can be used in place of saffron (less expensive and adds a pretty color)
  • 4-5 large raw shrimp, tails removed (optional)


Servings 4
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 40mins
Adapted from


Step 1

If using shrimp, use 2-3 large pieces per serving.
Remove the tail, place in a small bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil, a splash of white wine, a squeeze of lemon juice, one small clove of freshly minced garlic, and a little salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat chicken stock in medium saucepan.

In a separate saucepan, heat garlic and and shallots in olive oil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant.

Add rice and stir to coat for a few seconds. Add wine and a half cup of chicken stock. Stir frequently until liquid is mostly absorbed, then add another half cup of stock and saffron.

Allow to absorb, and then add another half cup of stock, repeating the process until the stock has been mostly absorbed (about 20-25 minutes). Rice should be tender but slightly firm, and risotto should have a thick creamy consistency.

Meanwhile (within 10 minutes of the risotto being ready):
In a small skillet, heat about 1 Tbsp olive oil, and 1 small pat of unsalted butter. Saute the asparagus until just al dente--about 7 minutes. Set aside.

In the same pan, cook the shrimp until pink-- about 2 minutes per side.

Once the risotto is finished, remove from heat and stir in lemon juice**, lemon zest, parmigiano reggiano, asparagus and frozen peas. Add salt to taste. Garnish with grated cheese and lemon zest.

Top with shrimp, if serving.

**add about 1/2 the lemon juice, and taste. Add more, if you prefer for the lemon citrus taste to come through.

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