Asparagus & Shiitake Risotto

Not sure why it looks like the bowl is glowing. It's probably got something to do with the heavenly risotto.

Yummy! Does it get any better than risotto? One pot meal + creamy rice + whatever goodies you want to mix in + lots of yummy leftovers sounds like a winning combination to me.

This recipe was another Pinterest find (I might need to see someone about my Pinterest addiction). Here’s the original from Smitten Kitchen, an amazing food blog that I just discovered. As an aside, I made this potato salad from the same blog while I was in Michigan (sans onion & with Greek yogurt subbed out for the mayo & vinegar) and it was aaahmazing.

I didn’t have arborio rice sitting around, but I DID have pearl barley. Fun fact: barley works the exact same as arborio rice, but, unlike the rice, pearl barley is a whole grain (woo hoo for healthier carb options!). Now it’s not like you can make the switch and not notice the difference, barley definitely has that nutty, whole-grain flavor, but I like it better anyway.

Also, due to budget constraints and limited willingness to put in the effort, I left out the artichokes. I’m sure they’re amazingly delicious and add a lot to the dish – if you have the means, give it a shot and report back!

Ingredients (makes 4 meal-sized servings):

  • 1 box (4 c) low sodium chicken broth (for a vegetarian version, just use veggie stock)
  • 1-2 c water
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into about 2-inch pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • a few Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 – 3/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed & caps sliced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c pearl barley or arborio rice
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • about 1/2 c grated parmesan


  1. Bring stock & water to a boil in a medium/large saucepan or small pot. Drop in the asparagus & cook 3-4 minutes, until just a touch less done than you want to eat it. Scoop out with a slotted spoon & transfer to a large plate/bowl. Turn the stock down to low.
  2. In a large deep-sided skillet or saucepan, head a pad of butter & a swirl of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushroom caps (throw away the stems) and cook, stirring, until they’re cooked through and starting to brown. Season with salt & pepper. Transfer to the plate/bowl with the asparagus.
  3. In the same skillet/pot that the mushrooms just came out of, heat about 2 Tbsp butter (still over medium-high heat). When melted, add the chopped onion & cook until softened.
  4. Add the barley/rice to the pan, stir. Add the wine to the pan, stir until it’s absorbed. Add 1 cup of the broth. Cook, stirring until it’s absorbed.
  5. Add the broth to the rice, 1/2 c at a time, stirring the rice frequently. Only add more broth after the previous addition as been absorbed. Periodically taste & season as needed.
  6. Keep going until your barley/rice is cooked through (you may have some broth left) and looks creamy. Remove from the heat, stir in the remaining butter & cheese, then the asparagus & mushrooms. If you’d like, add some of the remaining broth to thin it out a bit.
  7. Enjoy!

4 thoughts on “Asparagus & Shiitake Risotto

  1. Claud and I made risotto with shiitake mushrooms and it was delicious. This sounds even more yummy. Definitely going to try it with asparagus.

  2. Tried this the other night and LOVED it! For some reason, risotto has always sounded intimidating to me, but this wasn’t hard at all. Fun/not so fun fact: Did you know that alcohol actually does NOT cook out of foods unless they are baked for something like 2 1/2 hours? We did a little reasearch on line after talking about whether we would have eliminated the wine from the recipe.

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