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Spring Onion Risotto with Saffron & Asparagus

Spring Onion Risotto with Saffron & Asparagus

Adrian J. S. Hale
If you don't have whey on hand, try substituting a 1-to-4 ratio of buttermilk to water


  • 4 cups whey
  • teaspoons salt divided
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears cut into ½-inch pieces
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 1 onion diced
  • cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Grated cheese such as pecorino


  • Bring whey to a rapid simmer and season with 1 teaspoon salt. Add asparagus, and simmer until asparagus starts to lose crunch, about 3 minutes. Drain, reserving whey. Pour whey into a medium saucepan over high heat. Add saffron threads, return to a rapid simmer, then turn to low to keep warm until ready to use.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add diced onion and ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir occasionally until softened. Add arborio or carnaroli rice and stir until rice is completely coated in butter, turns translucent, and gives off a roasted, starchy aroma. Add wine and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium, and begin to add warm whey one ladleful at a time. Stir often, but not constantly. When all liquid is absorbed, add another ladle or two of whey and stir. Continue stirring in liquid until rice is plump and creamy. Remove from heat, and butter and a few tablespoons of freshly grated cheese.

Adrian J. S. Hale

Adrian J. S. Hale is a Portland, Oregon-based cook and storyteller. You can usually find her in her kitchen trying out new recipes or ingredients.