Spring Green Risotto

Spring Green Risotto is a creamy vegetarian risotto dish with fresh asparagus, leeks, peas and chives. With bright lemon and Parmesan cheese.

Spring Green Risotto in a bowl

I’ve never made risotto before . . . I may have never really eaten risotto before either, unless the kind from the box counts. I always choose pasta over rice at Italian restaurants, I’m not sure why.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to make risotto for a long time now, so when I saw Ina Garten make this primavera version, on a particularly ‘spring-like’ weekend temperature-wise, I decided this was the recipe. This was wonderful! I loved the colors of the green vegetables, and the creaminess of the dish, even though you don’t use cream. The lemon zest and juice really brighten the flavor.

I’ve never worked with fennel bulb before, so I was excited to try it. I knew it was supposed to have a slight anise flavor when raw, which I could taste in the raw piece I tried, but I didn’t taste that in the finished dish. I’m not quite sure what flavor it imparted, but it’s always nice to try new things.

LOVE SPRING VEGETABLES? Check out this Healthy Pasta Primavera Salad!

Recipe Details

This recipe is a traditional risotto recipe with fresh spring vegetables added.

Spring Green Risotto ingredients

Leek and fennel bulb are sauteed in butter, then the rice and white wine are added, followed by the series of warm chicken broth.

leeks sauteing in a pan

The cut asparagus is blanched to maintain the bright green color.

blanched asparagus in a strainer

The cooked asparagus and peas are added to the rice when it’s finished cooking and combined with the mascarpone cheese, lemon, and Parmesan cheese. Fresh chives finish off the dish!

LIKE RISOTTO? Check out this Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash!

Gluten Free Risotto

Arborio rice is naturally gluten free. Check your packaging for possible cross contamination.

Spring Green Risotto Pin

Looking for More Vegetarian Recipes?

Check out these vegetarian dishes:
Summer Vegetable Pasta
Healthy Pasta Primavera Salad
Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Tortilla Espanola and Tomato Bread
Baked Ziti Sorrentino
Five Veggie Four Cheese Lasagna
Baked Ricotta Cavatelli with Mascarpone Cheese Sauce
Tomatoes, Zucchini and Olive Orzo
Creamy Orzo
Lemon Orzo Salad
Tomates Provencales
Orzo with Parmesan and Basil
Lighter Eggplant Parmesan
Leek and Potato Soup
Roasted Tomato Soup – Panera Copycat

Spring Green Risotto in a bowl

Spring Green Risotto

Spring Green Risotto is a creamy vegetarian risotto dish with fresh asparagus, leeks, peas and chives. With bright lemon and Parmesan cheese.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 6 cups simmering chicken stock
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted (or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)
  • 3 tablespoons mince fresh chives (plus extra for serving)


  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally into 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)
  • When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.
  • Whisk the lemon juice and the mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.


Source: Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe on Food Network
You’re Gonna Bake It After All
Keyword Italian, main dish, rice, vegetarian

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