Risotto con asparagi e prosecco – Asparagus and Prosecco Risotto

This wonderfully unexpected combination of flavours comes from 4 Grosvenor Square, the cook book showcasing the menu at the Italian Embassy in London, and the culinary expertise of its creator, Masterchef finalist Danilo Cortellini. Danilo himself says this risotto is ‘a must for all lovers of Italian food’.

Serves 4 | Preparation Time 45 minutes | Cooking Time 30 minutes


20 large green asparagus
80g onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
280g Riso Gallo Carnaroli Gran Riserva rice
200ml Prosecco DOC
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
40g grated Grana Padano
30g unsalted butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 small bunch of pea shoots, for garnish


Trim off the woody ends of the asparagus stalks. Peel with a potato peeler and boil in salted water for 1 minute. Cool immediately in a bowl of iced water (this retains their vibrant green colour) then drain and cut off the tips – set these aside to use as a garnish. Chop the rest of the asparagus for the risotto. Blanch all the asparagus peelings and blend them with a glass of water. Keep this ‘sauce’ to add to and enhance the flavour of your risotto – nothing should be wasted in the kitchen!

Gently fry the chopped onion in a small casserole dish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 10-15 minutes on low heat, until golden and caramelised. Set aside.

In a large casserole dish, start to roast the rice on low heat with a pinch of salt, without adding oil or fat. This way, the heat reaches the core of each rice grain resulting in a more uniform al dente texture. Keep stirring the rice, so it does not catch on the bottom of the pan and burn. When the rice is very hot, pour half of the prosecco DOC in. Let the alcohol evaporate, set the cooking time to 15 minutes and add the hot stock a ladle at a time. Stir the rice occasionally.

Halfway through the cooking time, add the onion and the asparagus ‘sauce’ to the rice.

Once the time is up, add the chopped asparagus, taste the risotto to check its texture. if you’re happy with it, remove from the heat.

This next step is called mantecatura and is included to make the risotto creamier, increasing its natural oozy texture with the right movements.

Add the Grana Padano and butter to the rice.Stir with energy to incorporate extra air. Add the remaining prosecco DOC and keep stirring until the risotto is nice and creamy. Season to taste.

Plate the hot risotto straight away and top with the asparagus tips and pea shoots as a garnish.

Buon appetito!