Asparagus and Ham Risotto; pansies

Spring and fall are seasons of firsts and lasts in our kitchen.

This is the last risotto of the season, made with the last of the green asparagus and the first of the fresh herbs.

Because the weather has been typical of May (cold rain followed by hot sunshine followed by cold rain and so on…) it’s not a good time of year for planning.

At noon, with the sun blazing, I ask mon mari if he would like to grill pork chops for dinner.

Bien sûr!

I take the chops out of the freezer.

Five hours later, the wind has come up, the temperature has dropped ten degrees and it’s pouring rain.

I do a stir-fry or a quiche or whatever.

And so it goes.

Thankfully, there is always Arborio in the pantry and Parmesan in the fridge.

Spring onions are different than green onions. They are a young onion or a more mature green onion, depending on your point of view. They are not straight, like a green onion, but have a round bulb at the end.

Asparagus and Ham Risotto

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 2/3 cup (4.2oz, 125gr) Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto – Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
  • 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) dry, white wine
  • 2 1/4 cups (18oz, 540ml) chicken stock
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) Parmesan cheese – freshly grated
  • Condimenti:
  • 8oz (240gr) ham, cut into cubes
  • 8oz (240gr) asparagus, roll-cut* into 1″ (3cm) lengths
  • 2 spring onions, sliced, divided
  • 4 green garlic, sliced
  • 3 tbs fresh garlic chives, snipped
  • 3 tbs fresh marjoram, chopped s
  • 1 tbs olive oil

Asparagus and Ham Risotto


  • Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat.
  • In medium sauce pan heat butter
  • Add 1/2 of the spring onion, rice and sauté, stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes until rice has white center.
  • Add white wine and stir.
  • Start condimenti. 
  • When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/3 cup of stock and stir.  (No need to stir constantly but do stir from time to time.) 
  • When stock is almost absorbed add another 1/3 cup and continue adding 1/3 cup at a time and stirring.
  • Before the last 1/3 cup is added taste a few kernels of rice. They should be just ‘al dente’ – slightly resistant to the tooth but fully cooked.  If more stock is needed add it a tbs at a time and waiting until almost completely absorbed. At this point risotto will be thick but not stiff – there will still be visible liquid and it will not hold it’s shape on a plate.
  • Add the Parmesan, herbs, and condimenti, stir well, spoon into a bowl or risotto platter and serve immediately.
  • It will continue to absorb liquid and the leftovers (if any) will be quite stiff.  The risottos that we have eaten in northern Italy have all been served in soup plates (flattish bowls) and eaten with a spoon – not a fork.
  • Condimenti:
  • While risotto is cooking, heat oil in medium skillet.
  • Add asparagus, 1/2 spring onion, green garlic and sauté 5 -7 minutes, until onion is tender and asparagus is crisp-tender
  • Add ham and heat through.
  • Turn off heat, cover and keep warm until needed for risotto.

*To roll-cut asparagus (or any round vegetable) cut it at an angle, give it a 1/4 turn and cut at the same angle. Repeat for the length of the vegetable. This gives an interesting shape with lots of surface for picking up sauces. It’s a Chinese method and great for stir-fries.

Print Recipe

We went to a wonderful art fair today: Salon Metiers & Arts 

There was everything from paintings to jewelry to upholsterers to wood working to ceramics to….

I didn’t take any photos because, well, it just seemed like it would be rude to do so without permission and rude to be asking everyone for permission to take photos and then explain that I would be posting them on my blog. If you are interested, click the link.

If not, I give you photos of our pansies – who graciously nodded permission.

Pansies are a late winter flower here, but with our weather lately….

They are still looking quite lovely….

That would be the bright side of the miserable week we’ve had….

Last update on May 13, 2018

2 thoughts on “Asparagus and Ham Risotto; pansies”

  1. Oh come on!! No fair flaunting the fact that you have had asparagus for so long that this was made with the last of it! We’re just starting to see asparagus in the market now.

    The risotto sounds great!

    Have you tried pureeing the stems of raw asparagus with a little water and adding that to the risotto just at the very end of cooking? The puree adds the slightest hint of spring green colour to the risotto. Not all of the stalks get completely pureed but they are still very pleasing: slightly crisp and tender and tasting remarkably of delicate onion.

    • I haven’t tried that! Why haven’t I tried that!!! Well, now I’ll have to make a note to try it next year as all we are getting now is white and the raw stems would be quite inedible – and no pretty green color 😉

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