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Asparagus, Spinach and Mascarpone Risotto, Smoked Salmon

Recipe: Asparagus, Spinach & Mascarpone Risotto

Spinach and ricotta ravioli was one source of inspiration for this risotto. This recipe incorporates lots of greens and much less butter than traditional risotto recipes, making it healthier. It's a lot less heavy, but the mascarpone cheese helps boost the flavours and creaminess of this dish.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • 4 handfuls spinach approx. 150g, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp mascarpone cheese or ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion finely chopped
  • 200 g risotto rice or arborio rice
  • 100 ml dry white wine chardonnay or sauvignon blanc work well
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 8-10 stalks of large asparagus approx. 200g, roughly chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • smoked salmon or sun dried tomatoes optional

Instructions
 

Spinach & Mascarpone Mix

  • Chop spinach leaves roughly, and place in a colander. Pour hot boiling water over it, until leaves are wilted.
  • Squeeze out the spinach's liquids - I used a fork and pressed the leaves against the colander.
  • Mix spinach and mascarpone cheese1 in a food processor, until incorporated into paste-like consistency.

Risotto

  • Place butter and chopped onions in a medium pan (non-stick2) over low-to-medium heat. Cook for 5 mins, until the onions are soft.
  • Add risotto rice and toss around for 2-3 mins.
  • Add white wine3, and wait until it bubbles away (1-2 mins).
  • Add in the vegetable stock, a third at a time. Actively mix it until the liquids are mostly absorbed/evaporated each time (takes a couple of mins). After you add the last bit of the stock, toss in the asparagus4 and cover for about 5 minutes.
  • At this point the risotto rice should be super al dente (which I like). But if it's undercooked or too hard (taste it), add more hot water to the pan. You may need to add up to 100-150ml.
  • Once the rice texture is ready, mix in the spinach and cheese mixture, until evenly incorporated.
  • Season with salt and black pepper (taste it!)
  • This veggie risotto is good on its own, but also goes well if topped with smoked salmon or sun dried tomatoes (once plated).

Notes

  1. Cheese: I used mascarpone cheese because I had some leftover after making tiramisu. But you can also use ricotta cheese or even cream cheese.
  2. Non-stick pan: If you're not using a non-stick pan, you may need to use more butter at the start to avoid onions and rice sticking to the pan. 
  3. White wine: Use whatever you have at home. But it's best to use a dry white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
  4. Asparagus: I used large thick stemmed asparagus, chopped to about 3 cm long. If you're using small asparagus, add this in later in the process (maybe when the rice is cooked).
Keyword Dinner, Healthy, Pasta, Vegetarian