Asparagus and Pea Quinoa Risotto

Friday, 18 May 2012

I fear this is becoming a weather blog.  I seem a little preoccupied with the weather and here I go again.  I thought this time I might avoid mentioning it but I’m afraid it’s becoming a habit.  You see it is supposedly asparagus season but sadly the British asparagus season has been a bit of a non event this year thanks to weeks of rain and cold... So, the asparagus I used here, while purchased at my local fruit and veg market, comes from Italy where presumably the sun is shining and asparagus shoots are happily poking their head above ground.  I can’t say I blame the British asparagus for being a bit reluctant. I don’t really want to go out in the rain either.  I do still want to eat platefuls of asparagus and pea risotto however.  Asparagus and peas say summer is coming while risotto is one of my comfort foods, warm and creamy.   I’ll try and quit harping on about the weather in the future.

Lately I’ve been adding quinoa to my risotto.  It works beautifully as the nutty texture of the quinoa seems to compliment the risotto rice but blends in so as not to be too noticeable.  It is a sneaky way of making the risotto a bit lighter.  If you don’t like the idea then simply replace it with more Arborio rice. 
Serves 2
1 bunch of asparagus washed and woody stems removed
½ cup frozen peas
50g (2oz) quinoa rinsed
75g (3oz) Arborio risotto rice
1 small onion finely chopped
Knob of butter
1 garlic clove crushed
500ml stock
Zest half lemon
Parmesan, grated
Olive oil
First make the risotto.  In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil then add the onion and cook until translucent but not coloured, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Next add the garlic and cook for a few seconds more.  Add a knob of butter to the pan then once melted add the quinoa followed by the rice and cook for one minute stirring to prevent sticking.  Add a ladle full of stock to the pan to deglaze.  You can keep your stock hot in a separate saucepan simmering on a low heat.  Continue to add the stock a ladle full at a time until absorbed, gently stirring with each addition until all of the stock is used up.  This should take 20 to 25 minutes until the rice is cooked to your preferred consistency.
Five to ten minutes before the rice is cooked add the asparagus and frozen peas to the pan.  Continue cooking the risotto, by the time it is ready your asparagus and peas should also be cooked.  When everything is ready turn off the heat, stir in the lemon zest to taste followed by some of the parmesan.  Cover the pan and leave for two minutes before serving with extra parmesan grated on top if you wish.


  1. Hmm, quinoa in risotto? Interesting! I usually use barley instead of rice, and it works out really well. :)

    1. I know it’s a bit of a strange one but it’s nice to mix things up a bit! Sadly I can’t eat barley because of the gluten but I bet it tastes great. :)