Asparagus Butter Risotto with Shrimp

Once upon a time there was a young boy, known as Mr. Man-Pants, who maintained a typical child's view toward vegetables.
His reason for avoiding most green foods? He feared he would "catch normal."

Well, I fainted dead away when, after years of trials and tribulations to get the boy to eat right, I noticed him happily packing away this, unquestionably emerald-green risotto, into his cheek pouches, without so much as a hissy fit, whining or crying — from me.

Finally! We have emerged victoriously from his Frankenfood phase, and wanted to share this highly momentous occasion (and the recipe) with you.

I've been making this dish for quite a few years, so I've had the opportunity to play with it a bit. For example, I've substituted spinach, and sometimes mint for the basil, with good results.
But let it be known, basil still trumps all other variations.

Asparagus Butter Risotto with Shrimp

4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
¾ pound asparagus, stems peeled, chopped and blanched, tips set aside
½ cup chopped basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
4 cups Chicken Broth
16 large shrimp, cleaned, deveined, and roughly chopped *
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Basil or Rosemary sprigs, for garnish, optional

To make the asparagus butter: Place 3 tablespoons butter, the warm asparagus stems and the basil in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and purée.

To make the risotto: Place a large, non-reactive stainless steel, nonstick or copper lined saucepan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add remaining tablespoon butter. Add the garlic and leek and cook until soft, about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the rice until well coated.

Add the wine and cook until absorbed. Add 2 cups Chicken Broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring with each addition, until all liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups Chicken Broth, cook until the liquid is absorbed.

Add the asparagus tips, the asparagus butter, Parmesan cheese, shrimp, salt and pepper, stirring after each addition. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the shrimp turns pink and is just cooked through. Serves 4. Adapted from: The Figs Table by Todd English.

*Sometimes, I slow roast the shrimp whole, skewered with Rosemary sprigs, but this is, somewhat, for aesthetics.

Btw, the asparagus butter is also delicious over pasta, or polenta. Enjoy.

Before I sign out, let me introduce you to some of my tenants. Coo.

Judging by mama dove's expression, it was made perfectly clear that she would've pecked my head hollow, had I come any closer to her baby. So I respected her space, knowing the photo wouldn't be very clear.

Say Blogger, when will we be getting a HUG button?

I'll be joining:

Design by Gollum's Foodie Friday

Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking


  1. Great recipe for Asparagus, I love the color and it's definitely one of those risotto recipes that I obsess with :) Thank you for sharing it with us! Your little guest is so adorable, I guess it was pretty difficult to take the picture!

  2. Your posts are always worth waiting for. The colour of your risotto is amazing. I love the idea of asparagus butter.


  3. Mr Man Pants is one smart fellow, it looks so good. and a pretty color to boot. When you come back you come back with a bang, it all looks amazing, my friend! Such a pretty plate of delicious.

  4. This looks totally delicious!

    Love your tenant!

    - The Tablescaper

  5. I hug you~
    Mr Man Pants..I always liked that name you had for him.. Love the photos..the fork:) You are so talented..you always post perfection..never a thing less..
    We are grateful.:)We love Risotto..yours looks like a work of art.

  6. A scrumptious looking dish! That rice must taste wonderful. A great way of making anti-vegetable people eat veggies! ;-P

    That is on cute momma!



  7. Yum, yum, yummy! It looks so creamy and delicious. Now I'm going to have cravings until I make some. Dinner is over for tonight, but there is always tomorrow. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I'm glad you didn't get your head pecked.


  8. Marysol, that is the funniest opening paragraph! Afraid of catching normal, I must use that some time! :P

  9. Looks delish Sol! And I love your mama paloma. I also have them every day in my tree but they didn't nest there. You're so lucky. Hope you can soon get pics of the babies.
    Un abrazo, Sharon.

  10. Alina, this may not be the prettiest-looking dish, but I tell you, the taste makes up for everything else :)

    Ann, that was very kind of you — thank you!

    Dear Carol, the boy is usually pretty brave, except when it involves making 'healthy' food choices. But, at his age, I was finickier.

    There's that old saying, 'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.' But in our case, even if it did, we'd never notice, unless it was a caramel apple. Ha ha.

    Thank you kindly Tablescaper!

    Aw Monique, you're the sweetest friend. Prepare yourself to be hugged back!

    Rosa, I don't believe I'll ever get over the shock of my anti-vegetable boy's turnabout.

    Nancy, some may argue differently, but I'm also glad my head is intact :) Hugs right back

    Lorraine, your wit brightens my day, so I'm happy to bring a smile to yours!

    Querida Sharon, quiero darte mil gracias.
    The Bird of Peace sounds lovely in any language, doesn't it? But it seems to shine in Spanish.
    If I ever get another pet (no matter what it ends up being), I'm naming it 'Paloma.'

    Thanks you all for the sunshine you kindly bring to my day!

  11. absolutely gorgeous !!! my mouth is watering

  12. (((Marysol))) :-)

    First, I apologize for not reading your blog. I've been so busy that I rely on the dashboard to let me know of new posts. I WAS NOT notified of yours. Aaarrrg! It's so hard to get kids to eat the good stuff, I totally understand your cheers. I can't wait to try the recipe, it looks delicious.

  13. Thanks FC!

    Cotehele, I've had the same thing happen — must be a Blogger hiccup — so please, don't apologize. Hugs right back!

  14. I would absolutely enjoy this dish!

  15. Oh yum, what time is dinner! Count me in ... these are all my favorites! June ((hugs)), dear friend.

  16. I love shrimp and paired with the risotto, it looks like a fantastic meal! Fun exchange with your green-aversion husband.

    Sweet little dove nesting there. I love their bittersweet coos.

  17. Tiger, this dish has been endorsed by a former anti-greens rebel; it has to be good [G]

    Sweet Joey, you're in — whether you like it or not! And please, bring some pretty flowers from your prolific garden. Hugs

    LDH, living in the country, I've been spoiled by the symphony created daily, by doves, and all the birds around us. It's a beautiful sound.

  18. The shrimp skewered on the rosemary sprig looks wonderful. I have so much rosemary in my garden I'll have to try this one.

  19. Don't let him fool you! I have one of those around here and he'll eat the occasional green item and I get all giddy and smug and then bam! he just closes up and refuses to eat anything but smoked meats for another month or so.


  20. Absolutely fantastic!
    My stomach is rumbling....

  21. I love the green colored food. This meal looks fantastic! I must try it.

  22. That risotto sound so tasty with the fresh basil.

  23. This risotto with shrimp looks delicious! I can have this for lunch/dinner everyday! :) Love your photography! Thanks for sharing.

    BTW, I'm hosting 2 giveaways on my blog. One for $50 Thrive Product and the other one are baking molds and more. Please stop by to check them out.
    Have a wonderful weekend.


  24. That is exactly how my daughter and son-in-law get our Mr. Mack to eat veggies - in risotto! I'll have to give them your recipe :) This looks like the perfect meal to me.

  25. Joann3/6/11

    Mama dove is just being a mama! Risotto is of my favorite things....looks fabulous! Joann

  26. How sweet that you've got that nesting dove. And yea for your son finally eating his vegetables. But who wouldn't love that delicious looking risotto.

  27. Great sounding recipe. Your photos are fantastic.

  28. I am not a green vegetable lover, never was and it didn't change . I love salad, but cooked green veggies, no thanks! I would try this as you prob don't taste the spinach.
    Great pics, Sol!

  29. Jenn, I'm jealous. Somehow, my one and only Rosemary plant is still going strong, which is saying a lot for a non-gardener like me.

    Oh no, RockyMountainWoman, not BAM! Never say Bam! ;) But you know, I think you're right about our boys' mercuriality. I'd better keep my fingers and toes crossed.

    Freshgarden, thank you for stopping by!

    Gosia, this is a pretty simple dish; I hope you'll give it a shot.

    Katie, basil makes this risotto.

    Amy, I'll check out your giveaway — thank you!

    Susan, if MP's interest in green foods is short-lived, I hope you'll consider trading kids, just for a little while :)

    Joann, thank you! I'd be happy to share.

    Linda, I recently got boatloads of Basil, so I hope the vegetable-appreciation trend continues.

    Heather, thank you very kindly!

    Aw Kathleen, you won't get a sermon from me.
    When I was a kid, the only time greens ever touched my lips was the time I fell off a slide, and my face crash-landed on a patch of grass. I broke my left arm, scraped my knees, my face was bloody, and yet, the only thing that's stayed with me all these years was the blasted taste of grass.
    It's taken me a long time to appreciate greens.

    Thank you guys for dropping by — have a good weekend, and enjoy the awesome weather!

  30. This looks yummy....you have a lovely blog...I am having a giveaway in my blog..Y dont you check and join that

  31. Hi! I tried your risotto. It was delicious..mmm.. I enjoy your blo! Have a great week.

  32. New follower here...what stunning photos in every single post...and everything looks delicious, too. I look forward to visiting a lot :)

  33. Hello Aarthi! I intend to visit your blog.

    Sunny, I'm tickled to know you liked this dish — thank you kindly for the feedback!

    Lizzy, welcome, and thank you!

    Thanks again for hanging out with me, and making Monday feel like an extension to a lovely weekend.

  34. Nice recipie for asparagus. Your photography is lovely.