Asparagus & Lemon Risotto with Arugula

This is the classic rice dish of Northern Italy, where it dominates pasta. Risotto is Mary’s specialty, and Joel has dubbed her the Risotto Queen. Mary says the tricks to success with this dish are in timing and temperature. So be sure to do your prep work and measuring before you start. When cooking, keep your saucepan’s temperature from getting to high or low.

In this risotto recipe, note that you “sweat” but don’t brown the onions. This is explained in the Recipe Tips. Sweating releases a food’s flavor more quickly once cooked with other foods.

Serves: 4
Free of: gluten and all top allergens


  • 4 cups (950 mL) allergy-friendly vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 mL) unrinsed Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) white wine
  • 2 cups (475 mL) asparagus, steamed, cooled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups (475 mL) argulua, roughly chopped
  • Salt to taste

Recipe Tips

Sweating is to cook a food over low heat, without browning, until the item softens and releases moisture. Sweating releases a food's flavor more quickly once cooked with other foods.

The tricks to risotto are timing and temperature. Keep saucepan temperature from getting to high or low.


  1. In a large saucepan, heat vegetable broth and water on medium heat, just until hot. Turn heat ot low and keep broth warm.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add onions and “sweat” (see Recipe Tips) for 5 minutes, being careful not to brown them.
  3. Turn heat up to medium. Add Arborio rice and stir for 1-2 minutes until all the grains are well-coated. Add wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.
  4. Begin to add hot broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding next 1/2 cup.
  5. The cooking time is approximately 18 minutes from the first 1/2 cup broth addition. After 18 minutes, check rice for doneness.
  6. When rice is tender but still firm, add 1/4 cup broth, asparagus, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir briefly until asparagus is heated through. Add arugula and stir to combine.
  7. Remove from heat. Season with salt to taste. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

and Joel Schaefer are the husband-and-wife culinary team behind Chef Joel is the former Special Dietary Manager at Walt Disney World who developed the food allergy program used across the Disney properties and cruise line.